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The History of 




With Numerous Illustrations 







"pa ST 

{Drawn by George dit Maurier.) 


The prevailing idea of the origin and history of Punch has 
hitherto rested mainly on three productions : the " ^Memories " 
of George Hodder, " Mr, Punch's Origin and Career," and 
Mr. Joseph Hatton's delightful but fragmentary papers, 
entitled "The True Story of Punch." So far as the last- 
named is based upon the others, it is untrustworthy in its 
details ; but the statements founded on the writer's own 
knowledge and on the documentary matter in his hands, 
as well as upon his intimac}' with Mark Lemon, possess a 
distinct and individual value, and I have not failed to 
avail myself in the following pages of ]Mr. Hatton's courteous 
permission to make such use of them as might be desirable. 

During the four years in which I have been engaged 
upon this book, ni}- correspondents have been numbered bv 
hundreds. Hardly a man living whom I suspected of ha\'ing 
worked for Punch, but I have communicated with him ; 
scarce one but has afforded all the information within his 



viii The History of ''Punch" 

knowledge in response to my application. Editor and 
members of the Punch Staff, past and present— " outsiders," 
equally with those belonging to "the Table "—the rela- 
tions and friends of such as are dead, all have given their 
help, and have shown an interest in the work which I 
hope the result may be thought to justify. All this mass 
of material — all the evidence, published and unpublished, that 
was adduced in order to establish certain points and refute 
others-^ had to be carefully sifted and collated, contrary 
testimony weighed, and the truth detemiined. Especially 
was this the case in dealing with the valuable reminiscences 
imparted by Punch's earliest collaborators, still or till lately 
living. Of undoubted contributors and their work, it may 
be stated, more than two hundred and fifty are here dealt 
with. A further number cheerfully submitted to cross- 
examination on one or other of the many subjects touched 
upon ; and probably as many more were approached with 
only negative results. 

My special thanks are due to Mrs. Chaplin, the daughter 
of the late Mr. Ebenezer Landells, who unreservedly placed 
in my hands all the Punch documents, legal and otherwise, 
accounts, and letters, concerning the origin and early editor- 
ships of Punch, which have been preserved in the family ; 
and to Messrs. Bradbury and Agnew, who have supple- 
mented these with similar assistance, as well as with 
books of the Firm establishing points of literary interest not 
hitherto suspected, together with the letters of Thackeray 
which illustrate his early connection with and final secession 
from the Staff. Apart from their general interest, these 
documents, taken together, establish the facts of such very 
vexed questions as the origin and the early editorships 
of Punch. This is the more satisfactory, perhaps, by reason 
of the numerous unfounded claims— or founded chiefly on 
family tradition or filial pride and affection— which are' still 
being made on behalf of supposed originators of the Paper. 
Even these partisan historians, it is believed, will hardly be able 
to resist the proofs here set forth ; although attested fact does 
not, with them, necessarily carry comdction. For such services, 

Preface. ix 

and for their ready and S3'mpathetic acquiescence in the requests 
I have made for permission to quote text or reproduce en- 
graving, my hearty thanks to Messrs. Bradbury, Agnew and 
Co. are due. To them and to all m}- numerous correspondents 
I here repeat the assurance of gratitude for their courtesy 
which I have privately expressed before. 

I have reproduced no more pictures from Punch than were 
rendered necessar}' by the topics under discussion. I would 
rather send the reader, for Punch's pictures, to the ever-fresh 
pages of Punch itself. Nor, I may add, did I seek informa- 
tion and assistance from its Proprietors until this book was 
well advanced, preferring to make independent research and 
to test statements on my own account. 

My primary inducement to the writing of this book has 
been the interest surrounding Punch, the study of which has 
not begotten in me the hero-worship that can see no fault. 
How far I have succeeded, it rests with the readers of this 
volume to decide. 

September, 1895. 

M. H. Spielmann. 

{Front ike First Sketch by Charles H. Bennett. 



Introductory i 



The Mystery of His Birth— Previous Unsuccessful Attempts at Solution— Proposal 
for a "London Charivari" — Ebenezer Landells and His Notion — Joseph Last 
Consults with Henry Mayhew — Whose Imagination is Fired — Staff Formed — 
Prospectus — Punch is Born and Christened — The First Number . . . .10 



Reception of Punch— Y:a.r\y Struggles— Financial Help Invoked— The First Almanac 
— Its Enormous Success — Transfer of Punch to Bradbury and Evans — Terms of 
Settlement — The New Firm — Punch's Special Efforts — Succession of Covers — 
"Valentines," "Holidays," "Records of the Great Exhibition," and "At the 
Paris Exhibition " 29 



Origin and Antiquity of the Meal — Place of Celebration — The "Crown" — In 
Bouverie Street and Elsewhere — The Dining-Hall — The Table— And Plans — 
Jokes and Amenities — ^Jerrold and his "Bark" — A Night at the Dinner — From 
Mr. Henry Silver's Diary — Loyalty and Perseverance of Diners — Charles H. 
Bennett and the Jeu d'' esprit — Keene Holds Aloof — Business — Evolution of the 
Cartoon — Honours Divided — Guests — Special Dinners, "Jubilee," "Thackeray," 
" Burnand," and " Tenniel" — Dinners to Punch — The Punch Club — Exit Albert 
Smith — High Spirits— "The Whistling Oyster" — Baylis as a Prophet— " Two 
Pins Club" S3 

Contents. xi 



Punch's Attitude — His Whiggery — .\nd Sincerity — Catholics and Jews — Home Rule 
— European Politics — Prince Napoleon — Punch's Mistakes — His Campaign 
against Sir James Graham — His Relations with Foreign Powers — And Compre- 
hensive Survey of Affairs. ........... 99 



Punch's Influence on Dress and Fashion — His Records — As a Prophet — As an 
Artist — As an Actor and Dramatist — Benefit Performances — Guild of Literattu-e 
and Art 122 



" The Unknown Man " — Jokes from Scotland — " Bang went Saxpence" — " .-^dNice 
to Persons about to Marry"- — Claimants and True Authorship — Origin of some 
of Punch's Jokes and Pictures — Contributors of Witty Things— A Grim Coinci- 
dence — -"I Used Your Soap Two Years Ago" — Charles Keene Offended — The 
Serjeant-at-Arms and Mr. Furniss's Beetle — Mr. Birket Foster and Mr. Andrew 
Tuer — Plagiarism and Repetition — The Seamy Side of Joke-editing — Punch 
Invokes the Law- Rape of Mrs. CanAXe— Sturm und Z3ra»^— Plagiarism or 
Coincidence?— Anticipations of the " Puppet Show " and "The Arrow" — Of 
Joe Miller— And Others— /"wwr/i-baiting — Impossibihty of Joke-identification — 
Repetitions and Improvements 13^ 



The Cartoon takes Shape — "The Parish Councils Cockatoo "—Cartoonists and 
their Relative Achievements— John Leech's First— Rapidity in Design— " General 
Fcvrier turned Traitor" — "The United Service" — Sir John Tenniel's Animal 
Types—" The British Lion Smells a Rat "—The Indian Mutiny— A Cartoon of . 

Vengeance— /'z/wcA and Cousin Jonathan-" Ave Caesar!" — The Franco- \J 

Prussian War— The Russo-Turkish War—" The PoUtical ' Mrs. Gummidge ' " - 
" Dropping the Pilot," its Origin and Present Ownership— " Forlorn Hope"— 
'■ The Old Crusaders "—Troubles of the Cartoonist— The Obituary Cartoon . 168 



Origin and Growth of the Cartoon— And of its Name— Its Reflection of Popular 
Opinion— Source of Punch s Power— Punch's Downrightness offends France— 
Germanv— .\nd Russia— Lord Augustus Loftus's Fix — Lord John Russell and 
"No Pbperv"— Mr. Gladstone and Professor Ruskin on Punch's Cartoons— 
Their Effect on Mr. Disraeli— His .Advances and Magnanimity— Rough Handling 
of Lord Brougham— Sir Robert Peel— Lord Palmerston's Straw— Mr. Bright's 
Eye-glass— Difficulties of Portraiture— John Bull alias Mark Lemon— Sir John 
Tenniel's Typ>es ....■•••■•••• •'°5 



Pwwf/^ lays about Him— Assaults the "Morning Post"— The Factitious "Jenkins" 
— Thackerav's Farewell— Mrs. Gamp (the " Morning Herald ") and Mrs. Harris 
(the "Standard ")- Lese MajesUI—TYie " Standard " Fulminates a Leader— The 
Retort— His Loyalty- Banters the Prince Consort— Tribute on the Prmce's 
Death— Punch's Butts : Lord William Lennox— JuUien— Sir Peter Laurie- 
Harrison Ainsworth-Lvtton— Turner— A Fallacy of Hope — Bume-J ones- 
Charles Kean— S. C. Hall as " Pecksniff "—James Silk Buckingham and_ the 
" British and Foreign Destitute "—Alfred Bunn—Pt^nch's Waterioo : " A Word 
with Punch "— Bunn, Hot and Cross— A Second " Word " Prepared, but never 
Uttered— Other Points of Attack ^°9 


The History of ''Punch': 



Satire and Libel-Mrs. Ramsbotham Assaulted-Attacks of "The Man in the 
Moon" and "The Pappet-Show "-H. S. Leigh's Banter-Malic.ous Wit- 
Mr Vmco\.l-Ptoich-s Purity gives Offence-His Slips of Bact-guotation— And 
Dialect are Resented— His Drunkards not Appreciated by the L.K.A. — ' t'uncii 
-' is not as good as it was ! " ^34 



Mr Joseph Swain supersedes Ebenezer Landells— His Education as Engraver- 
Head of His Department— Engraving the Big Cut : Then and Now— Printing 
from the Wood-blocks— Leech's Fastidiousness— Impracticability of Keene— 
Thackeray's Little Confidence- A Record of Half a Century . . • -247 



Mark Lemon— As Others Saw Him— His Duties— His Industry— His Staff and their 
Apportioned Work— Lemon as an Editor— And Diplomatist— A Testimonial— 
And a Practical Joke— Henry Mayhew— His Great Powers and Little Weak- 
nesses—Disappointment and' Retirement— S'irling Coyne— Gilbert Abbott ;\ 
Beckett— His Early Career— Tremendous Industry— A Beckett and Robert 
Seymour— Appointed Magistrate— Locked in— Agnus B. Reach . . . -254 



H. P. Grattan— W. H. Wills— R. B. Postans— Bread-Tax and Tooth-Tax— 
G. Hodder— G. H. B. Rodwell— Douglas Jerrold— His Caustic Wit— The "Q 
Papers"— A Statesman /6i«;- r?;-<?— His Sympathy with the Poor and Oppressed- 
Wins for Punch his Pohtical Influence— Ill-healtii—" PwwA'j Letters"— The 
"Jenkins" and "Pecksniff" Papers— " Mrs. Caudle "—Jerrold's Love of 
Children, common to the Staff— He Silences his Fellow-wits— And is Routed by 
a Barmaid— He sends his Love to the Staff— And they prove theirs . . .282 



Percival Leigh— His Medical Shrewdness— Unsuspected Wealth— His Ability and 

Work— His Decay— Kindness of the Proprietors to the Old Pensioner— Albert 

Smith— Inspires varied Sentiments— Jerrold's Hostility— " Lord Smith"— Parts 

- ■ Company— H. A. Kennedy— Dr. Maginn— John Oxenford— W. M. Thackeray— 

\ji "-' His First Contribution— " Miss Tickletoby " Fails to Please— He Withdraws— 

aV And Resumes— Rivalry with Jerrold— As an Illustrator— A Mysterious Picture— 

V Thackeray's Contributions— And Pseudonyms — Quaint Orthography— " The 

Snobs of England '—He Tires of Punch— H\s Motives for Resignation— The 

Letter— Death of " Dear Old Thack "-/"////cA'j Tribute to his Memory . . 299 



Horace Mayhew— " The Wicked Old Marquis"— A Birthday Ode— R. B. Peake— 
Thomas Hood — "The Song of the Shirt "—Its Origin — Its Effect in the Country 
— Its Authorship Claimed by Others — Translated throughout Europe — A Missing 
Verse — Hood Compared with Jerrold — "Reflections on New Year's Day" — 
Dr. E. V. Kenealy — J. W. Ferguson — Charles Lever — Laman Blanchard— Tom 
Taylor — Passed over by Shirley Brooks — Taylor's Critics — Mr. Coventry Patmore 
— "Jacob Omnium" — Tennyson v. Bulwer Lytton — Horace Smith — "Rob 
Roy" Macgregor — Mr. Henry Silver — Introduces Charles Keene — His literary 
Work — Service to Leech — Retirement — Mr. Sutherland Edwards — Charles 
Dickens and Punch — Sothern Earns his Dinner — Reconciliation of Dickens 
and Mark Lemon — J. L. Hannay — Cuthbert Bede ...... 327 

Contents. xiii 



Shirley Brooks — His ^^'it and Humour— Training— Lays Siege to Punch — And 
Carries him by Assault—" Essence of Parliament'"— William Brough — Mr. 
Beatty Kingston— F. I. Sculamore- M. J. Barry— Dean Hole—Mr. Charles L. 
Eastlake— Mr. Francis Cowley Burnand— His Little Joke with Cardinal Manning 
— " Fun" — " Mokeanna " — Its Success — Thackeray's Congratulations to Punch 
—"Happy Thoughts "—And Other Happy Thoughts— Mr. Burnand as a Ground- 
Swell— Promoted to the Editorship — The Apotheosis of the Pan— Mr. J. Priest- 
man Atkinson— Mr. John Hollingshead — Mr. R. F. Sketchley — " Artemus Ward " 
— .\ Death-bed Ambition — H. Savile Clarke — Locker- Lampson and C. S. Calverley 
— Miss Betham-Edwards — Mr. du Manner's "Vers Nonsensiques " — Mr. A. P. 
Graves — Rev. Stainton Moses — Mr. Arthur W. 4 Beckett — "A. Briefless, Junior" 
—Mortimer Collins— Mr. E. J. Milliken— " The 'Arry Papers "-Gilbert k Beckett 
— " How we Advertise Now " — Mr. H. F. Lester — Mr. Burnand and the Corporal 356 


PUSCH-S WRITERS : 1880-94. 

"Robert" — Mr. Deputy Bedford — Mr. Ashby-Sterry — Reginald Shirley Brooks- 
Mr. George Augustus Sala — Mr. Clement Scott — The " Times " Approves — Mr. 
H. W. Lucy — "Toby, M.P. " — Martin Tupper and Edmund Yates — Mr. George 
Grossmith — Mr. Weedon Grossmith — Mr. Andrew Lang's "Confessions of a 
Duffer " — Miss May Kendall — Miss Burnand — Lady Humorists — Mr. Brandon 
Thomas and Mr. Gladstone -Mr. Warham St. Leger — Mr. Anstey — "Modern 
Music-hall .Songs " — "Voces Populi " — Mr. R. C. Lehmann — Mr. Barry Pain — 
Mr. H. P. Stephens — Mr. Charles Geake — Mr. Gerald Campbell — R. F. Murray 
—Mr. George Davis —Mr. Arthur A. Sykes — Rev. A. C. Deane — Mr. Owen Seaman 
— Lady Campbell — Mr. James Payn — Mr. H. D. Traill — Mr. A. Armilage — Mr. 
Hosack — "Arthur Sketchley "—Henry J. Byron — /^««c/i'5 Literature Considered 385 



/'itnch's Primitive Art — A. .S. Henning — Brine — A Strange Doctrine — John Phillips 
— W. Newman — Pictorial Puns — H. G. Hine — John Leech — His Early Life — 
Friendship w ith Albert Smith— Leech Helps Punch up the Social Ladder — His 
Political Work — Leech Follows the "Movements" — " Servantgalism " — "The 
Brook Green \'olunteer "— The Great Beard Movement — Sothern's Indebtedness 
to Leech for Lord Dundreaiy — Crazes and Fancies — Leech's Types — "Mr. 
Briggs " — Leech the Hunter — Leech as a Reformer — Leech as an Artist — His 
"Legend" Writing — His Prejudices — His Death — And Funeral . . . 409 


ruVCH'S ARTISTS: 1841-50. 

William Harvey — Mr. Birket Foster — Kenny Meadows— His Joviality — Alfred 
" Crowquill " — Sir John Gilbert — Exit "Rubens" — Hablot Knight Browne 
("Phiz") — Henry Heath — Mr. R. J. Hamerton — W. Brown— Richard Doyle — 
Desires Pseudonymity — His Protest against Punch's "Papal Aggression" 
Campaign — \\'ithdraws — His Art — Epitaph by Punch — Henry Doyle — T. 
Onwhyn — "Rob Roy" Macgregor — William McConnell— Sir John Tenniel — 
His Career — And I'echnique — His Early Work — Cartoons — His Art — His 
Memory and its Lapses — ' ' Jackldes " — Knighthood 444 


PUNCH'S ARTISTS : 1850-60. 

Captain Howard— Receipt for Landscape Drawing— Earnings, Real and Ideal- 
George H. Thomas — Charles Keene — His Training — Introduction to Punch— 
Called to the Table— Uselessness in Council— A Strong Politician — Inherits 
Leech's Position— Keene as an Artist— Where He Failed — His Joke-Primers — 
Torturing the Bagpipes— Good Stories, Used, Spoiled, and Rejected — "Toby" 
as a Dachshund — Death of " Frau " — Keene's Technique — His Inventions and 
Creations— And what He Earned by Them— Charles Martin- Harry Hall- 
Rev. Edward Bradley (" Cuthbert Bade") — "Verdant Green" or "Blanco 


The History of "Punch:' 


■nruf„"j n^nhlP Acrostics — George Cruikshank Defies Punch — 'Sir. T. 
mr rn<^to7 wTson-M^^^ Weir-Mr. Ashby-Sterry- Alfred Thompson 

"Sk BelleNV-Julian Portch-' ' Cham "-G. H. Haydon-J. M. Lasvless . 475 


PUNCH'S ARTISTS : 1860-67. 

vrr a du Mauriers First Drawing-The "Romantic Tenor "-Polite Satire— 
Hi^Vvnpf/nd Creations-His Pretty Women-And Fair American-" ' Chang, 
"do?'' Ld '^Puncr-M du Maurier as a Punch Writer-Mr. Gordon 
Ti?ompson-Mr. Stacy Marks. R. A. -Paul Gray-Sir John Mil.ais^ Bart. R^ 
-Mr. Fred Barnard-First Joke Refused as ''Painful -Mr. R. T. P"tchett- 
InitiationbySirJohnTenniel-Fritz Eltze-H.s Amiable Joculanty-Mr A. R. 
Fairfied-Colonel Seccombe-Fred Walker, A.R.A -Mr. J. Pr.estman Atkinson 
rDumbCrambo")-C.H. Bennett-Mr. W. S Gilbert f' Bab )-H.s Classic 
Joke-G. B. Goddard— Miss Georgina Bowers— Mr. Walter Crane . . .303 


ruxcus ARTISTS : 1867-82. 
Mr Linley Sambourne -His Work-His Photographs-And Enterprise-Strasynski 
_Mr Wilfrid Lawson-Mr. E. J. Ellis-Mr. Ernest Gnset-Mr A. Chasemore 
—Mr Walter Browne-Mr. Briton Riviere, R.A.— An Lndergraduate Humorist 
-A Punch Initial Converted into an Academy Picture -Mrs -J ophng Roxve-Mr. 
Wallis Mackay-Mr. J. Sands-Mr. W. Ralston - Mr. \. Chantrey Corbould- 
Charles Keene's Advice -Randolph CaldecGH-Major-General Robley-R. B. 
Wallace— Colonel Ward Bennitt— Mr. Montagu Blatchford— Mr. Harry hurniss 
— Orio-in of Mr. Gladstones Collars— A Favourite Ruse— How It s Done- 
Mr F^urniss and the Irish Members -The Lobby Incident— Clever Retaliation- 
Mr'. Furniss's Withdrawal— Mr. LiUie-Mr. Storey, A.R.A.— Mr. Alfred Bryan . 531 


PUNCH'S ARTI.STS : 1882-95. 

Mr. William Padgett-Mr. E. M. Co.x-Mr. J. P. Mellor-Sir F. Leigh ton Bart. 
Y>R \ —Mr G. H. Jalland— Monsieur Darrc- Mr. E. T. Reed— His Original 
Humour— "Contrasts" and "Prehistoric Peeps "— Approved by Sports 
Committees and School Classes— Mr. Maud— .\ Useful Drain— Mr. Bernard 
Partrid"-e— Fine QuaUties of his Art— Mr. Everard Hopkins— Mr. Reginald 
Cleaver— Mr W. J. Hodgson— Excites the Countryside- Miss Sambourne— 
Sir Frank Lockwood, Q.C., M.P.— Mr. Arthur Hopkins— Mr. J. F. Sullivan- 
Mr. J. .\. Shepherd— Mr. A. S. Boyd— Mr. Phil May— .\ Test of Drunkenness- 
Mr. Stafford— " Caran d' Ache "—Conclusion 558 

Appendix 573 

Index 581 

{Drawn by Harry Furttiss.) 


"The ^Mahogany Tree." By Linley 
Sambourne . . . Frontis. 

Headpiece to Preface. By G. du 
Maurier ...... vii 

An Introduction. From First Sketch 
by C. H . Bennett . . . . - x 

Mr. Punch. By Harry Furniss . xiv 

Mr. Punch portrayed by Different 
Hands ...... 7 

Ebenezer Landells .... 15 

Prospectus of Punch, Facsimile of 
Mark Lemon's MS. . . . 20-22 

Preliminary Leaflet .... 23 

.Signatures to the Original Agreement 25 
First Cover of Pu?ich. By A. S. 
Henning ..... 27 

The Four Earlier Proprietors . . 37 
The Five Later Proprietors . . 39 
Second Cover. By "Phiz" . . 42 
Third Proposed Cover. By H. G. 

Hine 43 

Third Cover. By W. Harvey . . 44 
Fourth Cover. I3v Sir John Gilbert, 

R.A. . . ' . . . .45 
Fifth Cover. By Kenny Meadows . 46 
Sixth Cover. First Design. By 

Richard Doyle ... .47 
Sixth Cover. Second Design. By 

Richard Dovle .... 48 
The First Piinck Table : ' ' Crown 

Inn" 57 

The Present Punch Table : Bouverie 

Street 59 

Twenty-six Initials Carved upon the 

Table 60-75 

The Dinner Card . . . . 69 
"Peel's Dirty Boy": Leech's First 

Sketch 112 

" Peel's Dirty Boy " : The Cartoon . 113 
The Anti-Graham Envelope . -115 
Punch' s_Anii-Gra.ha\r\ Wafers . .117 
The Draughtsman's Revenge . . 127 
Bennett's Benefit — The Cast . . 133 

Playbill of the Guild of Literature and 

Art 137 

Musical : First Sketch. By Henry 

Walker 148 

Musical : Drawing. By G. du 
Maurier ...... 149 

The Political " Pas de Quatre." By 
A. S. Henning .... 154 

The Political "Pas de Quatre." By 

J. Leech 155 

General Fcvrier. By J. Leech . . 175 
The " Pas de Deux : "Original Draw- 
ing. By Sir John Tenniel . . 178 

' ' The Political Mrs. Gummidge." By 

Sir John Tenniel .... 181 
Portraits of Beaconsfield. Re-drawn 

by Harry Furniss .... 201 
' ' The Mrs. Caudle of the House of 

Lords : " Original Sketch. By J. 

Leech ...... 203 

Portraits of Gladstone. Re-drawn by 

Harry Furniss .... 207 

Maternal Solicitude. By J. Leech . 212 

" A Word with Punch " . . . 229 

Joseph Swain ..... 247 

Mark Lemon ..... 254 

" Mr. Punch's Fancy Ball " . . 261 

Portraits of Piaich Staff . . . 262 

Lemon's Presentation Inkstand . . 264 

Henr\' Mayhew 268 

J. Stirling Coyne .... 271 

Gilbert Abbott a Beckett . . . 272 

Douglas Jerrold ..... 284 

Albert Smith 303 

lohn Oxenford ..... 308 

W. M. Thackeray .... 309 
Thackeray and Jerrold ("Authors' 

Miseries") 3^^ 

Thackeray's Presentation Inkstand . 321 
Thackeray at Work. Bv E. M. Ward, 

R.A 325 

Horace Mayhew. .... 327 

Thomas Hood 330 

Tom Taylor 338 

Leech, Tom Taylor, and part of 

Horace Mayhew. By R. Doyle . 339 

Henrj' Silver 347 

Dickens' Sole (and Rejected) Con- 
tribution 350 

J. Hannay 354 

Shirlev Brooks 356 

F. C.'Bumand 363 

R. F. Sketchley 369 

' ' Artemus Ward " . . . . 37° 
H. Savile Clarke . . . -371 

Arthur W. a Beckett .... 375 

E. J. Milliken 378 

Gilbert a Beckett . . . .381 

Punch s Familv Trees . . . 382 

John T. Bedford . . .385 

J. Ashbv-Sterrv- 386 

H. W. Lucy 390 

F. Anstey 39^ 

R. C. Lehmann 401 

A. S. Henning . . . - -411 

H. G. Hme 4^4 

Punch s Seal. Bv H. G. Hine . . 415 
John Leech. Bv Sir y. E. Millais, 

Bart., R.A. .' . . . .418 


The History of "Punch" 

"How long have you been gay f" By 

T Leech • • * ' " 

• ■ Leech's ' Prettv Girl '" : A Skit. By 

Sir J. E. Millais, Bart., R.A. . 
Leech's House in Kensington. By J. 

Fullevlove, R.L . . • • 
The Historical Ash-tree in Leech s 

Garden. Bv J. FuUeylove, R.L . 
" Two Roses": Sketch by John Leech 
A Page from Leech's Sketch- Book : 

My Lord Brougham 
Kennv Meadows . 
Alfred " Crowquill " . . . 
HablotK. Browne ("Phiz ) . 

R. J. Hamerton 

W. McConnell . . • • • 

Sir J. Tenniel. By Himself 

Sketch for the Pocket-Book, "Arthur 

and Guinevere." By Sir John 

Tenniel . . • • ; .• 
Sketch for the Cartoon^ " W ill it 

Burst?" By Sir John lenniel 
Sketch for the Pocket-Book : ' ' Thor." 

By Sir John Tenniel 
Sketch for the Cartoon " Humpty- 

Dumpty." By Sir John Tenniel . 
Captain H. R. Howard 
Charles S. Keene. By J. D. Watson 
Keene torturing the Bagpipes. By 


From Keene to his Editor . 

" Frau," n/ias " Toby "—Keene's last 

Drawing. ..... 

" Cuthbert Bede " . 

T. Harrington Wilson. By T. Walter 

Wilson ...••• 
George du Maurier .... 
"My Pretty Woman." By G. du 



Pencil Study. By G. du Maurier . 509 

428 "Chang." By G. du Maurier . . 514 

"Don." By G. du Maurier . . 515 

431 Pencil Study. By G. du Maurier . 516 

Pencil Study. By G. du Maurier . 517 

438 Fred Barnard. A Libel on Himself . 518 
R. T. Pritchett 520 

439 J. Priestman Atkinson . . ■ 5^4 

440 In a Hansom with Mark Lemon. By 
J. Priestman Atkinson . . . 524 

441 C. H. Bennett. By Himself . . 525 
447 Mrs. Bowers-Edwards (Miss G. 

450 Bowers) 5^9 

451 Linley Sambourne. By Himself . 531 
453 Ernest Griset ..... 53^ 

461 Mr. Griset introduces himself to Mark 

462 Lemon 53^ 

J. Movr Smith 54^ 

T. Sands 542 

464 W. Ralston 543 

A. Chantrev Corbould . . . 544 

465 jSI. Blatchford 548 

E. J. Wheeler 549 

468 Harry Furniss 549 

Pjtnch as the Bishop of Lincoln. By 

469 Harry Furniss .... 550 
475 Mr. Gladstone Collared. By Harry 
478 Furniss 55^ 

Two Friends. By Harry Furniss . 554 

485 "A Happv Release:" A Rejected 

486 Trifle. By C. T- Lillie . . .556 
E. T. Reed. By Himself . . . 560 

488 J. Bernard Partridge. By Hirhself . 564 

492 Phil May at Work. By Himself . 568 

Phil May as Punch. By Himself . 570 

497 The /'?<«f/i Staff at Table, 1895. . 571 

503 "Finale." By Linley Sambourne . 572 

j Index. Original Sketch. By Charles 

508 1 Keene 581 

The ent^ravings here borrowed from Punch are reproduced (in all cases in smaller 
sizes) by special permission of the Proprietors, Messrs. Bradbur\-, Agnew & Co. The 
Portrait of Charles Keene by J. D. Watson, and of Himself with the Bagpipes, were 
first published in Black and White, through whose courtesy they appear here. To all 
who have accorded the various permissions for reproductions, or who have lent drawings 
for the better illustration of this volume, the acknowledgments of the writer are grate- 
fully recorded. The Copyright of the illustrations is in every case strictly reserved. 




"If humour only meant laughter," said Thackeray, in his 
essav on the English humorists, " you would scarcely feel 
more interest about humorous writers than the life of poor 
Harlequin, who possesses with these the power of making 
3^ou laugh. But the men regarding whose lives and stories 
you have curiosity and sympathy appeal to a great number of 
our other faculties, besides our mere sense of ridicule. The 
humorous writer professes to awaken and direct your \o\e, 
your pity, your kindness ; your scorn of untruth, pretension, 
imposture ; your tenderness for the weak, the poor, the 
oppressed, the unhappy. To the best of his means and 
abilitv he comments on all the ordinary actions and passions 
of life almost." 

~ It mav surely be claimed that these words, consecrated 
to his mighty predecessors by the Great Humorist of Punch, 
may be applied without undue exaggeration to his colleagues 
on the paper. Though posing at first only as the puppet who 
waded knee-deep in comic vice, Punch has worked as a 
teacher as well as a jester— a leader, and a preacher of 
kindness. Nor was it simple humour that was PnncK s 
profession at the beginning ; he always had a more serious 
and, so to say, a worthier object in view. This may be 
gathered from the verv first article in the ^■erv first number. 


2 The History of "Punch:' 

the manifesto of the band of men who started it, contributed 
by Mark Lemon, under the title of— 


" As we hope, gentle public, to pass man}- happy hours in 
your society, we think it right that you should know something 
of our character and intentions. Our title, at a first glance, 
may have misled you into a belief that we have no other inten- 
tion than the amusement of a thoughtless crowd, and the collection 
of pence. We have a higher object. Few of the admirers of our 
prototype, merry Master Punch, have looked upon his vagaries 
but as the practical outpourings of a rude and boisterous mirth. 
We have considered him as a teacher of no mean pretensions, 
and have, therefore, adopted him as the sponsor for our weekly 
sheet of pleasant instruction. When we have seen him parading 
in the glories of his motley, flourishing his baton in time with 
his own unrivalled discord, by which he seeks to win the attention 
and admiration of the crowd, what visions of graver puppetry 
have passed before our eyes ! .... Our ears have rung with 
the noisy frothiness of those who have bought their fellow-men 
as beasts in the market-place, and found their reward in the 
sycophancy of a degraded constituency, or the patronage of a 
venal ministry — no matter of what creed, for party must destroy 
patriotism. ... 

" There is one portion of Punch's drama we wish was omitted, 
for it always saddens us — we allude to the prison scene. Punch, 
it is true, sings in durance, but we hear the ring of the bars 
mingling with the song. We are advocates for the correction 
of offenders ; but how many generous and kindly beings are there 
pining within the walls of a prison whose onl}- crimes are poverty 
and misfortune ! . . . 

" We now come to the last great lesson of our motley teacher 
— the gallows ; that accursed tree which has its root in injuries. 
How clearly Punch exposes the fallacy of that dreadful law which 
authorises the destruction of life ! Punch sometimes destroys the 
hangman, and why not ? Where is the divine injunction against 
the shedder of man's blood to rest ? None can answer ! To us 
there is but One disposer of life. At other times Punch hangs 
the devil : this is as it should be. Destroy the principle of evil 
by increasing the means of cultivating the good, and the gallows • 
will then become as much a wonder as it is now a jest. . . . 

" As on the stage of Punch's theatre many characters appear 

''Punch's'' Programme. 3 

to till up the interstices of the more important story, so our pages 
will be interspersed with trifles that have no other object than 
the moment's approbation— an end which will never be sought 
for at the expense of others, beyond the evanescent smile of a 
harmless satire." 

A portion of this programme was duly eliminated by 
the abolition of the Fleet and the Marshalsea ; and it must 
be admitted that Punch has long since forgotten his declared 
crusade against capital punishment. But he has been other- 
wise busy. His sympathy for the poor, the starving, the ill- 
housed, and the oppressed ; for the ill-paid curate and the 
worse- paid clerk ; for the sempstress, the governess, the 
shop-girl, has been with him not only a religion, but a 
passion. Professor Ruskin, judging only by Punch' s pictures, 
and that a little narrowh', has thought otherwise. Punch " has 
never in a single instance," says he in his " Art of England," 
" endeavoured to represent the beauty of the poor. On the 
contrary, his witness to their degradation, as inevitable con- 
sequences of their London life, is constant and, for the most 
part, contemptuous." 

Truth to tell, Punch has been kindly from the first ; and 
a man of mettle, too. None has been too exalted or too 
powerful for attack ; withal, his assaults, in comparison with 
those of his scurrilous contemporaries, have been moderate 
and gentlemanly in tone. He has attacked abuses from the 
highest to the lowest. Sham gentility, vulgar ostentation, 
crazes and fads, linked ^estheticism long drawn out, foolish 
costume, silly affectations of fashion in compliment and 
language — all have been set up as targets for his shafts of 
ridicule or scorn. He has been a moral refomier and a dis- 
interested critic. A liberal-minded patriot, he has ever opposed 
the advocacy of '' Little Peddhngton " in Imperial politics ; 
and municipal maladministration is a perennial subject for his 
denunciations. He has been a kindly cauteriser of social 
sores ; caustic, but rarely vindictive. Spiritualism, Socialism, 
Ibsenism, Walt Whitmania — all the movements and sensations 
of the day, social, political, and artistic, in so tar as they 
are follies— have been shot at as they rose. And having 

B 2 

4 The History of ''Punch." 

conquered his position, Punch has known how to retain it. 
'' The clown," says Ohver Wendell Holmes, " knows his place 
to be at the tail of the procession." It is to Punch's honour 
that with conscious dignity— and, of course, with conscious 
impudence— he took his place at its head. And there he has 
stayed'; and transforming his pages into the Royal Academy 
of pictorial satire, his alone among all the comic papers has 
forced its way into the library and taken up its position in 
the boudoir. His workers are the best available in the land ; 
and when in course of time one contributor falls away, 
another is ready to step quickly into his place — uno avulso 
non deficit alter. 

So Pmich — who for many years past has set up as the 
incarnation of all that is best in wit and virtue — is a scholar 
and a gentleman. He is, moreover, on his own showing, a 
perfect combination of humour, wisdom, and honour ; and 
yet, in spite of it all, not a bit of a prig. It is true that 
when he donned the dress-coat, and ''Punch" and "Toby" 
put on airs as " Mr. Punch " and " Toby, M.P.," he became 
milder at the expense of some of his political influence. 
Yet what he lost in power he gained in respectability, as well 
as in the affection of his countrymen. He appealed to a 
higher class, to the greater constituency of the whole nation ; 
and remembering that a jest's prosperity lies in the ear that 
hears it, he transferred some of his allegiance from pit to 
stalls, and was content with the well-bred smile where before 
he had been eager for noisy laughter and loud applause. 

People say — among them Mr. du Maurier himself — that 
there does not seem quite as much fun and jollity in the 
world as when John Leech was alive ; but that surely is 
only the wail of the middle-aged. Englishmen never 
were uproarious in their mirth, as Froissart once reminded 
us. But it is true that Punch does not indulge so much 
as once he did in caricature — which after all, as Car- 
lyle has pointed out, is not Humour at all, but Drollery. 
Caricature, one must remember, has two mortal enemies — a 
small and a great : artistic excellence of draughtsmanship, 
and national prosperity with its consequent contentment. 

The Nature of Caricature. 5 

Good harvests beget good-humour. They stifle all motive 
for genuine caricature, for " satire thrives onh' on the wrath 
of the multitude." A joke may be only a joke — or a 
comedy, or a tragedy ; but the greatest caricature (which 
need by no means display the greatest art) is necessarily that 
which goes straightest to the heart and mind. Xo drawing 
is true caricature which does not make the beholder think, 
whether it springs simply from good-humour or has its source 
in the passion of contempt, hatred, or revenge, of hope or 
despair. Mere amusement, said Swift, '' is the happiness of 
those who cannot think," while Humour, to quote Carlyle 
again, " is properh- the exponent of low things ; that which 
first renders them poetical to the mind." Through this truth 
we may see how Punch has so continually dealt with vulgarity 
without being vulgar ; while many of his so-called rivals, 
touching the self-same subjects, have so tainted themselves as 
to render them fitter for the kitchen than the drawing-room, 
throudi lack of this saving grace. Fun mav have been in 
their jokes, but not true humour. Punch thus became to 
London much what the Old Comedy was to Athens ; and, 
whatever individual critics may say, he is recognised as the 
Nation's Jester, though he has always sought to do what 
Swift declared was futile — to work upon the feelings of the 
vulgar with fine sense, which '' is like endeavouring to hew 
blocks with a razor." 

If there is one thing more than another on which Punch 
prides himself — on which, nevertheless, he is constantly 
reproached bv those who would see his pages a remorse- 
less mirror of human weakness and vice — it is his purity 
and cleanness ; his abstention from the unsavoury subjects 
which form the principal stock-in-trade of the French humor- 
ist. This trait was Thackeray's delight. " As for your 
morality, sir," he wrote to Mr. Punch, 'Mt does not become 
me to compliment you on it before your venerable tace ; but 
permit me to sa}- that there never was before published in 
this world so many volumes that contained so much cause 
for laughing, and so little for blushing; so many jokes, and so 
little harm. Whv, sir, say even that your modest}-, which 

6 The History of "Punch." 

astonishes me more and more every time I regard you, is 
calculated, and not a virtue naturally inherent in you, that 
ver)- fact would argue for the high sense of the public morahty 
among us. We will laugh in the company of our \%ives and 
children ; we will tolerate no indecorum ; we like that our 
matrons and girls should be pure." 

It was not till the great occasion of his Jubilee that the 
Merrv Old Gentleman of Fleet Street, who 'Hiath no Party 
save Mankind ; no Leader— but Himself," discovered the full 
measure of his popularity. The day broke for him amid a 
chorus of greeting— a perfect pEean of triumph, in which his 
own trumpet was not the softest blown. It is not an exagger- 
ation to sav that the Press of the world welcomed the fiftieth 
anniversary of his birth, and that with a cordiality and 
unanimitv never before accorded to any paper. Hardly a 
journal in the English-speaking world but commented on the 
event with kindly s\Tnpathy ; hardly one that marred the 
celebration with an ill-humoured reflection. Pencil as well 
as pen was put to it to do honour to the greatest comic 
paper in the world, and demonstrate in touching friendliness 
the confraternity of the Press. 

For the public. Punch issued his "Jubilee number" and, 
in accordance with the promise given in the first volume fifty 
years before, he produced in his hundredth a brief histor\' of 
his career and the names of the men who made it, modestly 
ad\-ising his readers to secure a set of his back volumes as the 
real " Hundred Best Books." For himself, he dined with the 
Staff at the " Ship Hotel " at Greenwich, when the Editor, 
who occupied the chair, was feted by the proprietors of the 
paper and received a suitable memento of the glorious event. 

And what may appear to some as the most curious cele- 
bration of all was a solemn religious celebration — nothing less 
than a Te Deum — in honour of the occasion. It sounds at 
first, perhaps, a little like a joke — though not in good enough 
taste to be one of Mr. Punch's own ; but the service was 
held ; and when regarded in the light shed upon it by the 
Rev. J. de Kewer Williams, the incongruity of it almost dis- 
appears. " I led my people yesterday," he wrote, " in giving 


[See p. 9. 

y The History of ''Punch:' 

thanks on the occasion of your Jubilee, praying that you might 
ever be as discreet and as kindly as you have always been. 
The prayer spoken in the pulpit appropriately ended as follows : 
" For it' is so easv to be witty and wicked, and so hard to be 
witty and wise. "May its satire ever be. as good and genial, 
and 'the other papers follow its excellent example!" 

The public tribute was not less cordial and smcere, and 
poetic effusions flowed in a gushing stream. But none of 
these verses, doggerel and otherwise, expressed more felici- 
tously the general' feeling than those which had been written 
some years before by Henry J. Byron-(who had himself 
attempted to establish a rival to Punch, but had been 
crushed b\- the greater weight)— one of his verses running :— 

" From 'Forty-one to present times 

How much these pages speak, 
And Punch still bids us look into 

The middle of next week ; 
And that's a Wednesday, as we kn( w, 

When still our friend appears. 
As honest, fearless, bright, and pure 

As in the bygone years." 

But greater far than the public esteem is the affection of the 
Staff, who naturally enough regard the personality of Punch 
with a good deal more than ordinary loyal sentiment and 
esprit de corps. It is interesting to observe the different views 
the artists have severally taken of it, for most of them in turn 
have attempted his portrayal. Brine regarded him as a mere 
buffoon, devoid of either dignity or breeding ; Crowquill, as 
a grinning, drum-beating Showman ; Doyle, Thackeray, and 
others adhered to the idea of the Merry, but certainly not 
uproarious. Hunchback ; Sir John Tenniel showed him as a 
yi\'ified puppet, all that was earnest, responsible, and wise, 
laughing and high-minded ; Keene looked on him generally as 
a youngish, bright-eyed, but apparently brainless gentleman, 
afflicted with a pitiable deformity of chin, and sometimes 
of spine; Sir John Gilbert as a rollicking Polichinelle, and 
Kenny Meadows as Punchinello ; John Leech's conception, 

Portraits of "Punch." 9 

originall}' inspired, no doubt, by George Criiikshank's cele- 
brated etchings, was the embodiment of everything that was 
jolly and all that was just, on occasion terribly severe, half 
flesh, half wood — the father, manifestly, of Sir John Tenniel's 
impro\'ed figure of more recent times. Ever}- artist — Mr. 
du Maurier, Mr. Sambourne, ]Mr. Furniss, and the rest — has 
had his own ideal ; and it is curious to observe that in his 
realisation of it, each has illustrated or betrayed in just 
measure the strength or weakness of his own imagination. 

Some of these portraits, characteristic examples of Pimch's 
leading artists, are reproduced on page 7, arranged according 
to authorship, thus : — 

W. Newman Kenny Meadows R. Doyle 

W. M. Thackeray J. Leech (i) J. Tenniel (i) 

C. Keene J. Leech (2) G. du Maurier 

L. Sambourne (i) J. Tenniel (2) F. Eltze 

L. Sambourne (2) J. Tenniel (3) H. Furniss 




The Mystery of His Birth— Previous Unsuccessful Attempts at Solution- 
Proposal for a "London Charivari "—Ebenezer Landells and His Notion 
—Joseph Last Consults with Henry Mayhew — Whose Imagination is 
Fired— Staff Formed— Prospectus— P»«rA is Born and Christened— The 
First Number. 

It should be counted against neither the fair fame nor the 
reputation of Picnch that the facts of his birth have never j^et 
been definite!}^ and honourably established. It is not that his 
parentage has been lost to history in a discreet and charitable 
silence ; on the contrary, it is rather that that honour has been 
claimed by over-many, covetous of the distinction. He seems 
to come within the category of Defoe's true-bom English- 
man, "whose parents were the Lord knows who," not 
because there should be any doubt upon the subject, but 
because none suspected at the time the latent importance of 
the bantling and the circumstances of his birth until it seemed 
too late to decide b}' demonstration or simple affirmation who 
was father and who the sponsors. Had it then been known 
that PuncJi was born for immortalit}', I should not now be 
at the pains of setting forth, at greater length than would 
otherwise be necessary or justifiable, the proofs of his parent- 
age and of his natal place. 

" Great Homer's birth seven rival cities claim, 
Too mighty such monopoly of Fame." 

Rubens was born both at Antwerp and Cologne. One 
knows it to be so, when one has visited both houses. Hans 
Memling, again, was native of Bruges and Momelingen too. 
It is hardly surprising, then, that several roof-trees claim the 
honour of having sheltered the new-born Punch, and that 
many men have contended for his paternity. 

The Mystery of ''Punch's" Birth. ii 

I say "his" paternity; for the absokite personahty of 
Punch has long been recognised. It has been the usual custom 
of comic papers to indulge in a similar fiction, mildly humorous 
and conveniently anonymous — " Figaro in London," " Pasquin," 
"The Puppet Show "-man, "The Man in the Moon," and the 
rest. But Punch was not only a personality himself, but at 
the outset began by introducing the rest of his family to the 
public. Nowadays he ignores his wife, especially since a 
contemporary has appropriated her name. But this was not 
always so. In his prospectus he announces that his depart- 
ment of "Fashion" will be conducted by Mrs. J. Punch, 
whose portrait, drawn by Leech's pencil, appeared in 1844 
(p. 19, Vol. VI.), and who was seen again, under the 
name of Judina, in honourable companionship with her 
husband, in the preface to Vol. XLVII., for 1864, and once 
more in "Mrs. Punch's Letters to Her Daughter." His 
daughter Julia, too, being then, in 1841, "in service," wrote 
a letter to the journal in that style of damaged orthography 
afterwards adopted by the immortal Jeames and his American 
cousin, Artemus Ward. But it was not long before Punch 
took a rise in the social scale, and many men of distinction 
in literature have claimed him for their child with all the 
emphasis of groundless assertion. 

According to the "City Press" (June 27th, 1892), Mr. C. 
Mitchell frequently declared that Punch originated with him, 
Shirley Brooks, Henry Mayhew, and Ebenezer Landells, in 
his office in Red Lion Court, the latter drawing the original 
sketch of the pink monthly cover of Punch. But as Shirley 
Brooks did not come on the scene till thirteen years later, and 
as the cover in question is the one designed, and signed, by Sir 
John Gilbert in 1842, the claim may be dismissed, except in so 
far as it may support Landells' statement that he prepared the 
scheme of such a paper and submitted it to several publishers 
before he and his associates determined upon carrying it them- 
selves into execution. And soon after it was started, as will be 
seen, the services of a speculative printer were anxiously sought. 
Mr. Hatton declares that Mark Lemon "always spoke of 
it to me as a project of himself and Henry Mayhew," wherein 

12 The History of ''Punch:' 

he is followed by the "Dictionary of National Biography;" 
and the Hon. T. T. a Beckett gives the exclusive honour to 
Henrv ]\Iavhew (wherein he is followed by the same authority 
in the notice of the latter wTiter), but admits the further 
founder's claim of Stirling Coyne. 

The writer of the well-knowm, but sadly inaccurate, 
pamphlet entitled " Mr. Punch, His Origin and Career," which 
was published in 1882 as a memorial of Mark Lemon, explains 
circumstantially that it was Mr. Last, the printer, who proposed 
the idea to Henry Mayhew, w^ho '' readih' accepted it." The 
book is generally accredited to Sidney Blanchard ; but when 
I explain that the printer of it, now deceased, informed me 
that it was written and brought to him by Last's son, the 
transfer of the central interest from Landells and Henry 
Ma_vhew ' becomes intelligible. 

The late Mr. R. B. Postans, the house-chum of Henry 
Mayhew, " his companion from morning to night," and George 
Hodder, in his oft-quoted " Memories of My Time," agree in 
according undivided credit to Henry Mayhew ; but they 
unfortunately disagree in essentials, and contradict each other, 
and indirectly confirm my own conclusions. Hodder further 
declares that Mayhew invented the paper and its name 
simultaneously, which sprang Minerva-like, full-titled, from 
his brain — which we know to be untrue, as the name was 
not decided upon until a subsequent meeting. Indeed, on 
the final prospectus, written with Mark Lemon's hand, as 
may be seen on p. 20, the present title was only inserted as 
an after-thought. 

Then comes the version of Henry Mayhew^'s son, Mr. Athol 
Mayhew, who claims everything for his father in a statement 
of some length, in some respects authentic, but in many details 
entirely erroneous. He carries back Mayhew's idea of a 
"London Charivari" to the 5'ear 1835; but, as wull be seen 
a little further on, On-in Smith, Jen-old, Thackeray, and several 
more of the wags of the day afterwards combined in a still- 
bom effort to start a similar paper based on the same model. 
The writer bases his case far too much on Hodder's 
" Memories," which, entertaining though they are, do not 

The Case for Henry Mayhew. 13 

universally command the trust and respect with which ^Ir. 
Athol Mayhew regards them. "A more sanguine man than 
my father," he says, ''never breathed, and in his arrange- 
ment with Hodder appears to ha^•e taken exerything for 
granted, although the scheme had not as vet been even 
breathed to Messrs. Landells and Last [the engi-aver and 
printer] ; for when the latter gentleman agreed to enter 
into the speculation, Mayhew had removed to Clement's 
Inn." But the writer, who would appear to ha^"e inherited 
the paternal characteristic of "taking everything for granted," 
has not considered that Hodder declared that his visit to 
Hemming's Row, by which occasion it is alleged that 
the new Punch had sprung to ]\Iayhew's brain, was " //; 
the summer." As Punch appeared in the middle of Julv, 
and, according to the draft prospectus, was first arranged to 
appear on June loth (though this may possibly have been 
a lapsus calami), it requires more than ordinary sanguineness 
to accept the statement that not a word had been breathed 
to persons so paramount in such a newspaper enteii^rise as 
the printer and engraver — especially when the paper was to 
make its appearance in a few days' time. And }-et Mr. 
Mayhew adds that matters did not progress even so rapidly 
as his authority, George Hodder, narrates. 

Yet although it was not, as will appear, Henry [Mayhew 
who was the actual initiator of Punch, it was unquestionably 
he to whom the whole credit belongs of having developed 
Landells' specific idea of a " Charivari," and of its conception 
in the form it took. Though not the absolute author of its 
existence, he was certainly the author of its literary and artistic 
being, and to that degree, as ; he was wont to claim, he was its 

From all these versions (which, after all, \-^x\ hardly 
more than the accounts of other incidents of Punch life*) it is 

* An example of these amusing and confusing contentions is the popular — 
I might almost say classic — witticism which is often resurrected at the expense 
of Punch. Once in a company of choice spirits Somebody suggested, when 
"our leading comic" was being discussed, that it would surely be an original 
idea and a good speculation to "start a comic Punch." Douglas Jerrold, says 
one writer, aimed the dart at Mark Lemon. Mr. W. S. Gilbert, according to 

14 The History of ''Punchy 

not very easy at first sight to sift the truth. There is a story 
of the tutor of an Heir-Apparent who asked his pupil, by 
way of examination, what was the date of the battle of 
Agincourt. " 1560," promptly replied the Prince. "The date 
which your Royal Highness has mentioned," said the tutor, "is 
perfectly correct, but I would venture to point out that it has 
no application to the subject under discussion." A like criticism 
might fairly be passed on each existing reading of the genesis 
of Punch. It has been worth while, for the first time, and it 
is to be hoped the last, to collate and compare these state- 
ments, and ascertain the facts as far as possible. Claims have 
been set up, variously and severally, for Henry Mayhew, Mark 
Lemon, Joseph Last, Ebenezer Landells, and Stirling Coyne ; 
even Douglas Jerrold and Gilbert a Beckett have been declared 
originators, though no such pretentions came directl}' from 
them. Otherwise than in the spirit of the Scottish minister 
who exclaimed, "Brethren, let us look our difficulties boldly 
and fairly in the face — and pass on," I propose to take those 
portions of the stories which tally with the facts I have 
ascertained and verified beyond all doubt, and, disentangling 
the general confusion as briefly as may be, to present one 
consistent version, which must stand untainted by claims of 
friendship, by pride of kinship, or filial respect. 

It had occurred to many of the wits, literary and artistic, 
who well understood the cause of mortality in the so-called 
comic press that had gone before, that a paper might succeed 
which was decently and cleanly conducted. It might be as 
slashing in its wit and as fearless in its opinions as it pleased, 

a world-travelled newspaper paragraph, let off the gibe at his friend Mr. 
Burnand. Laman Blanchard, says another journalist, surprised Jerrold into 
silence with the taunt. Mark Lemon, declares another, threatened his pro- 
prietors with it in a moment of anger ; while Mr. Walford told me that it 
was certainly first spoken of by George Grossmith, senr., of humorous memory. 
But Hodder and Vizetelly agree in fathering it on Blanchard's son, Sidney, 
at the time when Gilbert a Beckett's " Comic Blackstone " and comic histories 
were delighting all true connoisseurs of burlesque. Sidney Blanchard, Hodder 
reminds us, was possessed of a quaint wit, which was wont to deliver itself in a 
manner such as that in which he referred to a cashier who was never behind his 
desk when money was to be paid out: "Compared with him," said he, "the 
eel is an adhesive animal." 

Punch's " Progenitor. 


so long as those opinions were honest and their expression 
restrained. Their idea was founded rather on Phihpon's Paris 
"Charivari" than on anything that had appeared in England; 
but they plainly saw that to attract and hold the public the 
paper which they imagined must be a weekly and not a daily 
one. The Staff which was brought together consisted or 
Douglas Jerrold, Thackeray, Laman Blanchard, Percival 
Leigh, and Poole, author of ''Paul Pr}- " — authors; and 
Kenny Meadows, Leech, and perhaps Crowquill — artists ; 
with Orrin Smith as engraver. The whole scheme of this 
new " London Charivari " was in a forward state of prepara- 
tion, even to pages of text being set up, when it suddenl}' 
collapsed through a mistaken notion of Thackera3^'s that 
each co-partner — there being no " capitalist " thought of — 
would be liable for the private debts of his colleagues. The 
suggestion was too much for the faith of the schemers in 
one another's discretion, and " The London Charivari " was 
incontinently dropped ; yet unquestionably it had some in- 
direct influence on the subsequent constitution and career of 
Mr. Punch. 

For some vears the success of the 
Paris '' Charivari " had attracted the 
attention of Mr. Ebenezer Landells, 
wood - engraver, draughtsman, and 
newspaper projector. He had been a 
favourite pupil of the great Bewick 
himself, and had come up to London, 
where he soon made his mark as John 
Jackson's and Harvey's chief heutenant, 
and obtained an entrance into literary 
and artistic circles. A man of great 
originality and initiative ability, of 

unflagging energy and industry, of considerable artistic taste, 
and of great amiability, he also had the defect of the 
creative quality of his mind, so that, owing to that lack 
of business talent which the public generally associates with 
the artistic temperament, he did not ultimately prove him- 
self more than a moderate financial success. As Jerrold, 


1 6 The History of ''Punch." 

Thackeray, and the rest had done before hmi, he beheved 
in a " Charivari " for England, and pondered how the Parisian 
success might be emulated and achieved. In his house at 
22, Bidborough Street, St. Pancras (where most of the early 
Punch blocks were cut), he had a ready-made staff of 
engravers that included some names destined to become 
better known — Mr. Birket Foster ; Mr. Edmund Evans, best 
known nowadays in connection with Miss Kate Greenaway's 
delightful children's books ; J. Greenaway, her father, who 
became a master engraver himself; and William Gaiter, who 
afterwards took Orders ; while " outside " were Edward and 
George Dalziel, T. Armstrong, and Charles Gorway. With 
these young men the handsome, tall engraver was extremely 
popular ; they called him " the Skipper," or '' Old Tooch-it- 
oop " behind his back, in token of his Northumbrian accent, 
but to his friends he was generally known as '' Daddy Long- 
legs," or " Daddy Landells." 

So Landells took the idea, which he determined upon 
carrying out, to one or two well-established publishers, Wright 
of Fleet Street amongst them, but none could see the germ 
of a first-rate property in it. It was objected that the tem- 
perament of the English people so differed from that of the 
French that they certainly would neither appreciate nor en- 
courage the requisite style of writing, even supposing— which 
they did not believe — that the necessary talent were forth- 
coming. Moreover, they would not credit that a comic paper 
could succeed without the scurrility, and often enough the 
indecencies, that had distinguished earlier satirical prints ; and 
although the popularity of Hood's " Comic Annual " and 
Cruikshank's "Comic Almanac" was pointed to, they would 
have nothing to do with a weekly, however much it professed 
to supersede previous ribaldr}- with clean wit and healthy 

As it happened, early in 1841 Landells was concerned, with 
his friend Joseph Last, printer, of 3, Crane Court, Fleet Street, 
in projecting a periodical known as " The Cosmorama," an illus- 
trated journal of life and manners of the day, and to him Lan- 
dells imparted his conviction that such a journal as he imagined 

The Conception of ''Punch." 17 

would certainly succeed. The enterprising printer lent a readier 
ear than others had done (perhaps, in view of his limited 
capital and still more limited ideas of speculation, altogether 
too ready an ear), and agreed with Landells to take up so 
excellent a notion. Xow, in the little world of comic writing 
a brilliant humorist was at work — Henry Mayhew, one of 
several brothers of ability, a man whose resource was equal to 
his wit. He was alread}' known to Last as the son of the lead- 
ing member of the firm of Mayhew, Johnston, and Mayhew, 
of Carey Street, his legal advisers. He was residing at the time 
at Hemming's Row, over a haberdasher's shop, and, with 
F. W, X. Baylev and others, he had been secured as writer 
on " The Cosmorama." Landells, introduced to him by Last, 
approached him on the subject of the " Charivari." Mayhew 
grasped the conception at once, and, as the sequel proved, 
saw it more completely, and perhaps appreciated its literary 
and artistic possibilities more clearly, than either its material 
originator or his ambassador had done. He immediatelv ad- 
vised dropping ''The Cosmorama," and directing on to the 
new comic all the energy and resources that were to have 
been put into the more commonplace publication. In due 
course he imparted the new idea to his friend Postans, who 
shared his room, and to other visitors ; but he forgot to 
mention how the idea had been brought to him, so that his 
friends not unnaturally counted it as another of Harry's many 
happy, but usually impracticable, thoughts. But in this in- 
stance Mayhew made his personalit}' felt, for the character 
of the paper, instead of partaking of that acidulated, sardonic 
satire which was distinctive of Philipon's journal, on which 
it was to have been modelled, took its tone from Mayhew's 
genial temperament, and from the first became, or aimed at 
becoming, a budget of wit, fun, and kindly humour, and of 
honest opposition based upon fairness and justice. 

As for the Staff of such a paper as he imagined, Mayhew 
urged that he could secure the services of Douglas Jerrold, 
Gilbert a Beckett, Mark Lemon, Stirling Coyne, and others, 
in addition to those already engaged ; and then adjournment 
was proposed to rvLu'k Lemon's rooms in Newcastle Street, 

8 ' The History of "Punch!' 

Strand. " The Shakespeare's Head, " in Wych Street, had 
previously been Lemon's place of business. It was the meeting- 
place of the little " quoting, quipping, quaffing " club of fellow- 
workers in Bohemia ; and Lemon, it was explained, had dabbled 
both in verse and the lighter drama, efforts which were "not 
half bad." Little did the writer dream that his modest 
Muse had marked him oirt for the editorship of the gi'eatest 
comic journal the world has seen ! To the duties of tavern- 
keeper Lemon, who was enamoured of literature and the 
drama, had been condemned by a fate more than usually 
unkind. He had found himself nearly penniless when 'Sh. 
Very, his stepfather, offered him a clerical position in his 
brewery in Kentish Town. But the brewerv failed, and with 
it Lemon's livelihood, and he was only rescued by a jovial 
tavern-keeper named Roper, one of his stepfather's customers, 
and b}- him put into charge — disastrously for both — of the 
Wych Street public-house. Then he married, having borrowed 
five pounds to do it with, and by his wife's advice kept in 
touch with his literary acquaintance ; and by the acceptance 
of a five-act comedy by Charles ]\Iathews at Covent Garden 
— which was to be played by a cast including the great 
comedian's self, Mme. \'estris, and " Old" Farren — he received 
a hundred pounds down, and was tided over his difficulties 
until the starting of Punch gave him pemianent emplovment. 
So to ]\Iark Lemon they went, and a full list was quicklv 
drawn up. ]\Li\hew undertook to communicate with Douglas 
Jerrold, who, then better known to the public as the successful 
dramatist than as the great satirist, was staving at Boulogrne 
for the sake of his voung familv's education ; and a charminsr 
picture has been drawn by his son of how, on the visit of 
a Beckett, Charles Dickens, and the rest, he would throw off~ 
his clothes and swim with them in the sea, or challenge 
them to a game of leap-frog on the sands — a curious contrast 
to his own declaration that the only exercise he cared for 
was cribbare.* 


* This little conceit greatly pleased its author. He makes Mrs. Caudle 
exclaim, when protesting against her spouse's lapse into billiards—" There's 
the manly and athletic game of cribbage I " 

The Gathering of the Staff. 19 

Stirling Coyne, Baily, W. H. Wills, H. P. Grattan 
(H. Plunkett, othenvise " Fusbos "), Henning, Henry Baylis, 
and ''Paul Prendergast" — whose "Comic Latin Grammar" had 
been attracting much attention — were proposed, and Hodder 
was told off to wait upon the latter. At the adjourned meet- 
ing at the " Edinburgh Castle " tavern in the Strand, Somerset 
House, Postans, William Newman, Baylis (afterwards president 
of the "Punch Club"), Stirling Coyne, Henning, Mayhew, 
Landells, and Hodder were present. The latter then ex- 
plained that "Prendergast " was a young medical man, Percival 
Leigh by name, who preferred to wait before giving his 
adhesion until he was satisfied as to the character of the 
publication; and "Phiz" had returned a similar reply to 
Mark Lemon — though later on he was glad enough to 
accept little commissions in the way of drawing initial 
letters for the paper. 

Henning was then nominated cartoonist ; Brine, Phillips, 
and Newman, artists-in-ordinary ; and Lemon, Coyne, 
Mayhew, a Beckett, and Wills, the literary Staff, until the 
advent of the others, whose adhesion was anxiously awaited. 
Henry ]\Iayhew, ]\Iark Lemon, and Stirling Coyne were to 
be joint editors; Last, of course, was to be printer, and 
Landells engraver ; and W. Bryant publisher. Several more 
meetinsfs were held— at the "Crown" in Vinegar Yard, at 


Landells' house, and elsewhere— and in due course ]Mark 
Lemon produced the draft prospectus, consisting of three folios 
of blue paper, which probably contains a good deal more of 
Mayhew and Coyne than of ^Nlark Lemon. Edmund Yates 
estimated its chemical composition thus : — 

Henry Mayhew 95 

Stirling Covne 3 

W. H. Wifls 1-5 

Mark Lemon "5 


And his estimate was probably correct. This interesting docu- 
ment is here shown in reduced facsimile : — 

C 2 

20 The History of ^' Punch.'" 

draft' of the punch prospectus, in mark lemon's handwriting 


C/ ^.^ /^ -^ ^^A^ 

^ ^ .tj:^-i!r-* / -^ ^-"^ ■ /"T^-'^T-^- 



The Draft Prospectus. 


l/f (Uru^iyi^ a-- 




J^ ^rt ^, 

•^tt/-^ «-»•-. CoCiyi. a-^tx-y^ 

Ctrv^C 4Jy C/3^-iXy (X-^l^r^r< <a.V^<W4 


The History of Punch." 



Or^^^^ ^^^^^^£^ 

The Announcement. 


WILZ. BE our 8K0R7X.V. 






Tiii» GttgmnjTu^ ia intended lo fomi n rtfupc fnr Ocslimic nit— nn «5>lum 
for the tbousanda of orphko jokes — the supcrniiuuated Joe MiUen — ^tbe 

PUyciI " will hftve the honoar of nwlring Wa fiwt sppeanDce io this 
clmfiwter on Saturoav, Jul* 17, 1841 ; ami »tUI continue, from week to 
week, to offer lo ihc norld hU llic fun lo be Tomid iu his owa nud the 
followini; liends : — 

POLITICS. "Pl'xck" has no p^rty prejudices — be 13 conservative 

in his oppoaitioii to Fnutoccini and political puppets, hut n progressive 
whig in his love of mo// tiirni^e, and a repeal of the union with public 

FASRIOKS. — This department will be coadacted by Mrs. J. Punch, 
whose extensive actiiiainiAnce with '-be el'ae of the areas will enable her to 
rumish the earlieal information of the movements of the Fashionable 

POLICE. This portion of the work ttU] be under the direction of an 

experienced nobleman — a regulnr .ittendiint at the various offlccs — who, 
IVom a strong attachment to ■' Pbhch," will be in n position to supplj 
cxclasivc reports. 

REVIEWa — To render this branch of the iicn'>dio;il as pcrfecl as 
poiisible, arrangements have been made lo secure the criiir.J nssislnnce of 
Jiihn Ketch, Esq., who, fr«ni the mildness of the law, and the rongenittl 
character of modem literature with hia early a*-)odaltoii&, has beuu iu- 
daced to midertnkc its exceutioti 

FINE ARTS. Anxious to do justice to native talent, the criticisms 

Hpnn Fiiinting. Sculpture. &c., will be confided to one of the moat i>opiiliir 
artists of ibc day—" Punch's " own imraorul scene-painter. 

IvmSIC AKS THE DRAMA These wilt be amongst the most pro- 

miitcnt fealiircs of tbu \*ork. The Musical Notices will be wnttea by the 
jtntltnmii who plny.t tlie moulh-organ, assisted by Uie professors of the 
drum iiml oymbaU. " I'lim-b," liii/uelf, will wo the Drama. 

SPORTING.— .\ IV'iihet has beeu engaged! He will foreiel net 
pr'y •'!«; Minuets of each race, but aUo the *' waies" and colours of the 

tnillioiu) of perishing puns, which are now wiaderiag about without w 
much as a shelf to rest upon ' It will also be dtvotcd to ihe emAncipotion 
ol the Ji * iCtspriu mil uver the world, and the naturalisation of iho»c alien 
JoNtTiiAK*, Mhoa« adherence to the truth bai forced them to emigrate 
fnmi tlicir luative laud. 

The pnqirictora frol that the "eyes of Europe" will be upon them— tb«t 
every risible aoLmt), like our political patrioU, will look out for 

THE PACBTIiB will be eonttibuted by (he memben of the fiiUowing 
teamed toodiea - — 





Together with original humourous and satirical article inverse and prose. 
Irom ttO the 

7CS>t OOGS *"« 

rrm.isHKP for the pitoi'RirTORs bv r, bryant. 


Kitn ftU Cjmaiuoiaiooi IpnptU) fw the r -asi* ibcolJ U for.i»rd«* 

{Original size of page si x 3J inches.) 

At the head of this [innouncement there was a woodcut ol 
Lord Morpeth, Lord Melbourne (Prime :\Iinister), and Lord 
John Russell, who were then in office, but were popularly, 
and correctly, supposed to be in imminent danger of deteat. 
The price originally proposed was twopence— the usual price 
of similar papers of the day— but it was altered to " the iiTe- 
sistibly comic charge of threepence ! ! " and the title was being 

24 The History of ''Puxch." 

given as "The Fun ," when the \\Titer stopped short and 

erased it. It is generally believed that the intention was to 
call the paper "The Funny Dog— with Comic Tales," as 
appears in the final hne of the prospectus ; a title, moreover, 
that was employed in 1S57 for a book in which more than 
one Punch man co-operated. A reduced copy of the now 
rare leaflet as it was printed and circulated by tens of thou- 
sands is given on the previous page. " Vates," it should be 
explained, was the 710m dc plume of the notorious sporting 
tipster then attached to " Bell's Life in London." 

As to the origin of Punch's name, there are as many 
versions as of the origin of Punch itself. Hodder declares 
that it was Mayhew's sudden inspiration. Last asserted 
that when "somebody" at the "Edinburgh Castle" meeting 
spoke of the paper, like a good mixture of punch, being 
nothinsr without Lemon, ^lavhew caught at the idea and 
cried, "A capital idea! We'll call it Punch.'" Jovial Hal 
Bavlis it was, sa}'S another, who, when refreshment time 
came round (it was always coming round with him), gave 
the hint so readily taken. INIrs. Brezzi, wife of the sculptor, 
lavs the scene of the first meeting in the " Wrekin Tavern," 
Broad Street, Longacre, and writes that the founders were only 
prevented from calling the paper " Cupid," with Lord Brougham 
in that character on the title-page [presumably a mistake for 
Lord Palmerston, who subsequently was so shown in Punch 
by Brine, picking his teeth with his arrow] by the sight from 
Joseph Allen's window of a Punch and Judy show in the 
north-eastern corner of Trafalgar Square. ]Mrs. Bacon, Mark 
Lemon's niece, informs me that she distinctly remembers being 
seated among the gentlemen who met at his rooms in New- 
castle Street, and hearing Henry Mayhew suddenly exclaim, 
"Let the name be 'Punch'!" — a fact engraven on her 
memory through her childish passion for the reprobate old 
puppet. Mr. E. Stirhng Coyne claims that it was his 
father who suggested the title at the memorable meeting at 
Allen's. This, at least, in Lemon's words, is certain : " It was 
called Punch because it was short and sweet. And Punch 
is an English institution. Ever}'one loves Punch, and will be 

The Christening. -5 

drawn aside to listen to it. All our ideas connected with 
Punch are happy ones." The decision was not set aside 
when it was found that Jerrold had edited a '' Punch in 
London" years before, proposed to him a few months earlier 
by Mr. ^lills (of Mills, Jowett, and :\Iills). But the favour 
with which the title was received was not universal. " I re- 
member," ]\Ir. Birket Foster tells me, '' Landells coming into the 



{See Appendix i.) 

workshop and saying, ' Well, boys, the title for the new work 
is to be Punch.' When he was gone, we said it was a ^•ery 
stupid one, little thinking what a great thing it was to become." 
The business plan was to be a co-operative one. Mayhew, 
Lemon, and Coyne, it was finally agreed, were to be co-editors 
and own one-third share as pa^-ment.* Last was to find the 

* So ignorant were their immediate successors of the events I am relating that 
in a letter written in confutation of the assertion that Gilbert a Beckett had been 
an editor of Fundi, Shirley Brooks said : " From the first the editorship was in 
the hands of my predecessor, Mark Lemon ; the opening address was from 
his pen, and he was sole editor from July 17th, 1S41 (the day of the birth of the 
publication) until :May 23rd, 1S70, the day of his lamented death." In the 
Jubilee number of Punch this misconception was confirmed upon the authority 
of this statement of Shirley Brooks. 

26 The History of ''Punch." 

printing and own one share, and Landells was to find drawings 
and engraving, and own one share. The claims of outside con- 
tributors (among whom were Jerrold and a Beckett) and the 
paper-maker's bill were to be the first charge on the proceeds ; 
and if these were not enough, Landells and Last were to make 
up the deficiency. So, on the same plan as the first abortive 
attempt of a " London Charivari," the new paper was em- 
barked on, by men who with but little capital ("it was started 
with ;^25 — which I found ! " says Landells) vet threw, them- 
selves into it, and became their own publishers. Advertising 
to the extent of £iii 12s. was ventured on, including "bill- 
ing in 6 Mags.," " page in ' Master Humphrey's Clock ' twice," 
100,000 of the prospectuses reproduced on p. 2},,'*' and 2,000 
window-bills that bore the design which Henning drew for 
PuncJi s cover, after a rough sketch bv Landells. 

It was a busy fortnight ; and it mav well be doubted if 
any other journal of such great eventual popularity has ever 
been launched with so little preparation. Every technical detail 
identical with what was emplo}'ed up to recent years was 
settled ; Henning drew his ill-composed cartoon of " Parlia- 
mentary Candidates under Different Heads," roughly done, 
but not ill-cut ; and Mark Lemon, Henry Mayhew, Henry 
Grattan, Joseph Allen, F. G. Tomlins, Gilbert a Beckett, and 
W. H. Wills (the biting epigram "To the Black-balled 01 
the United Service Club," i.e. Lord Cardigan, was his), all 
contributed to the first number. It is an axiom of newspaper 
conductors that " the first number is always the worst number," 
and Punch did nothing to disprove the rule. Nevertheless, 
it was a great success. The tone and quality were far higher 
in dignity and excellence than was common to an avowedlv 
smart and comic paper — far different from what is suggested 
by the word "Charivari;" and the public admitted that here 
was a novel school of comic writing, by a motley moralist and 
punning philosopher, and hailed with pleasure the advent of a 
"Xew Humour." 

"Out came the first number," wrote Landells. "I shall 

* These prospectuses cost a penny for twenty ; they are now worth a guinea 

The First Number. 


s° 1.] 


[Price Threepence. 




{Designed by A. S. Henning.') 

never fors^et the excitement of that first number ! It was so 
great that Mr. Mayhew, ]\Ir. Lemon, and mj^self, sat up all 
night at the printer's, waiting to see it printed." When " our 
Mr. Bryant," as the pubhsher was called, opened the publishing 

28 The History of ''Punch." 

office on that ' memorable 17th of July, at 13, Wellington 
Street, Strand, the unexpected demand for the paper raised 
the expectations and enthusiasm of the confederates to the 
highest pitch. IMayhew, with Hodder and Landells, walked 
up and down outside the office and in the neighbouring Strand, 
discussing the paper and its prospects, and constantly caUing 
to hear from Bryant how things were progressing. At news of 
each fi-esh thousand sold, their spirits rose, and their anxiety 
became satisfaction when the whole edition of five thousand 
had been taken up by the trade, and another like edition 
was called for, and, on the following day, was sold out. Ten 
thousand copies ! Ten thousand proofs, they took it, of public 
sympathy and encouragement. 

Such is the outline of Punch's conception and birth, based 
on many original documents and a mass of evidence, as well 
as on the independent testimony collected from survivors. 
In the words of Mr. Jabez Hogg, " Landells and Henry 
Mayhew were certainly the founders " — the former conceiving 
the idea of the paper which was presently established, and the 
latter developing it, as set forth, according to his original views 
— founding the tradition and personality of " Mr. Punch," and 
converting him from a mere strolling puppet, an irresponsible 
jester, into the laughing philosopher and man of letters, the 
essence of all wit, the concentration of all wisdom, the soul 
of honour, the fountain of goodness, and the paragon of every 




Reception of Piiiicli— Early Struggles— Financial Help Invoked— The First 
Almanac — Its Enormous Success — Transfer of Punch to Bradbury and 
Evans — Terms of Settlement — The New Firm — Punch's Special Efforts- 
Succession of Covers—" Valentines," " Holidays," " Records of the Great 
Exhibition," and " At the Paris Exhibition." 

The public reception of the first number oi Punch was varied 
in character. y[x. Watts, R.A., once told me that the paper 
was regarded with but httle encouragement by the occupants 
of an omnibus in which he was riding, one gentleman, after 
looking gravely through its pages, tossing it aside with the 
remark, " One of those ephemeral things they bring out ; 
won't last a fortnight ! " Dr. Thompson, Master of Trinity, 
informed Professor Herkomer that he, too, was riding in an 
omnibus on the famous 17th of July, when he bought a copy 
from a paper-boy, and began to look at it with curiosit}'. 
When he chuckled at the quaint wit of the thing, "Do you 
find it amusing, sir ? " asked a lady, who was observing him 
naiTowly. "Oh, yes." "I'm so glad," she rephed ; "my 
husband has been appointed editor ; he gets twent}' pounds a 
week ! " One may well wonder who was this sanguine and 
trustful lad}-. Mr. Frith describes how, having overheard Joe 
Allen tell a friend, in the gallery of the Society of British 
Artists, to " look out for our first number ; we shall take the 
town by stomi ! " he duh' looked out, but was disappointed 
at finding nothing in it by Leech ; and how when he went 
to a shop for the second number, to see if his idol had 
drawn anything for it, the newsman replied, " ' What paper, 
sir ? Oh, Punch ! Yes, I took a few of the first number ; 
but it's no go. You see, they billed it about a good deal ' 
(how well I recollect that expression !), ' so I wanted to see 
what it was like. It won't do ; it's no go. ' " 

30 The History of "Punch." 

The reception by the press was more encouraging — ^that 
is to say, by the provincial press, for the London papers took 
mighty httle notice of the newcomer. The " Morning Adver- 
tiser," it is true, quaintly declared in praise of the "exquisite 
woodcuts, serious and comic," that they were " executed in the 
first style of art, at a price so low that we really blush to 
name it;" while the " Sunday Times " and a number of pro- 
vincial papers of some slight account in their day professed 
astonishment at the absence of grossness, partisanship, profanity, 
indelicac}", and malice from its pages. " It is the first comic 
we ever saw," said the "Somerset County Gazette," "which was 
not %ulgar. It will provoke many a hearty laugh, but never 
call a blush to the most delicate cheek." They ^•ied with each 
other in their vocabulary of praise ; and as to Punch's quips 
and sallies, his puns, his propriety, his " pencillings," and his 
cuts — they simply defied description ; \-ou just cracked your 
sides with laughter at the jokes, and that was all about it. 

Yet, notwithstanding all this praise, the paper did not 
prosper ; but whether it was that the price did not suit the 
public, although the " Advertiser " really blushed to name it, 
or that Punch had not yet educated his Party, cannot be 
decided. The support of the public did not lift it above a 
circulation of from five to six thousand, and on the appearance 
of the fifth number Jerrold muttered with a snort, " I wonder 
if there will ever be a tenth ! " Everything that could be 
done to command attention, with the limited funds at disposal, 
was done. Xo sooner was Lord Melbourne's Administration 
defeated and discredited (for the Premier was angrily denounced 
for hanging on to office), than Punch displayed a huge placard 
across the front of his offices inscribed, " Why is Punch like 
the late Government ? Because it is Just Out ! ! " And no 
dence of the sort, or other artifice that could be suggested 
to the resourceful minds in Punch's cabinet, was left untried. 
Things were against Punch. It was not only that the public 
was neglectful, unappreciative. There was prejudice to live 
down ; there were stamp duty, advertisement duty, and paper 
duty to stand up to ; and there were no Smiths or Willings, 
or other great distributing agencies, to assist. 

" Pu.ych" in Difficulties. 31 

While Bryant was playing his uphill game, Punch, written 
by educated men, was doing his best not only to attract poli- 
ticians and lovers of humour and satire, but to enlist also the 
support of scholars, to whom at that time no comic paper had 
avowedly appealed ; and it is doubtless due to the assumption 
that his readers, like his writers, were gentlemen of education, 
that he quicklv gained the reputation of being entitled to a 
place in the library and drawing-room, diffusing, so to speak, 
an odour of culture even in those early days of his first 
democratic fervour. We had a German " Punchlied," Greek 
Anakreontics, and plenty of Latin — not merely Leigh's mock- 
classic verses, but efforts of a higher humour and a purer kind, 
such, among many more, as the " Petronius," and the clever 
interlinear burlesque translations of Horace which came from 
the pen of H. A. Kennedy. Then ''Answers to CoiTespond- 
ents " were maintained for a while inside the wrapper, which 
were witty enough to justify their existence. But it was felt 
that something more was wanted to make the paper "move;" 
and the first " Almanac " was decided upon. 

The circulation meanwhile had not risen above six thousand, 
and ten thousand were required to make the paper pay. 
Stationer and contributors had all been paid, and "stock" was 
now valued at £2^0. That there was a constant demand for 
these back numbers (on September 27th, 1841, for example, 
£1 3s. 4kl.-worth were sold "over the counter"), was held 
to prove that the work was worth pushing ; but it seemed 
that for want of capital it would go the way of many another 
promising concern. The difficulties into which Punch had 
fallen soon got noised abroad, and offers of assistance, not 
bv any means disinterested, were not wanting to remind the 
struggiers of their position. Helping hands were certainly put 
out, but only that money might be dropped in. Then Last 
declined to go on. He had neither the patience nor the 
speculative courage of the Xorthumbrian engi-aver, and money 
had, not without great difficulty and delay, been found to 
pav him for his share— which had hitherto been a share 
only of loss. The fimi of Bradbury and Evans had been 
looked to as a deus ex machind to take over the printing, 

32 The History of ''Punch!' 

and lift Punch out of the quagmire by acquiring Last's share 
and interest for /150. The offer was entertained, and an 
agreement drafted on September 25th, when, on the very 
same dav, Bradbury and Evans wrote to withdraw, on the 
ground that they found the proposed acquisition "would in- 
volve them in the probable loss of one of their most valuable 
connections." Landells, who always regarded this action — with- 
out any definite grounds that I can discover^as a diplomatic 
move to involve him and his friends still more, so that more 
advantageous salvage terms might be made, hurriedly cast about 
for other succour, and alighted on one William Wood, printer, 
who lent money, but whose agreement as a whole was not 
executed, as it was considered "either usurious or exorbitant" 
by their solicitors, who characteristicalh' concluded their bill 
thus : — " Afterwards attending at the office in Wellington Street 
to see as to making the tender, and to advise you on the 
sufficienc}' thereof, but you were not there ; afterwards attend- 
ing at ]\Ir. H. ^Mayhew's lodging, but he was out ; afterwards 
attending at ]\Ir. Lemon's, and he was out ; and we were given 
to understand you had all gone to Gravesend " — showing the 
one touch of nature which made all Puuck-men kin. 

In due course Landells acquired Last's share, and the 
printing was executed successively by Mr. ]\Iitchell and by 
Mills, Jowett, and Mills, until it slid b}' a sort of natural gra^^- 
tation into the hands of Bradbury and Evans. Landells had 
endeavoured to interest his friends in the paper, but soon 
discovered the tatal truth that one's closest friends are never 
so close as when it is a question of money. 

Then came the Almanac, upon which were based man}' hopes 
that were destined to be more than realised. It has hitherto 
been considered as the work of Dr. Maginn, at that time, as at 
many others, an unwilling sojourner in a debtor's prison. But 
H. P. Grattan has since claimed the distinction of being, like 
the doctor, an inmate of the retreat known as Her ^Majesty's 
Fleet, where he was visited by Henry Mayhew. INIayhew, he 
said, lived surreptitiously with him for a week, and during that 
time, without any assistance from Dr. Maginn, they brought the 
whole work to a brilliant termination. Thirt3'-five jokes a da)' 

Bradbury and Evans Assume Control. 33 

to each man's credit for seven consecutive days in the melan- 
choly privacy of a prison cell is certainly a \'ery remarkable 
feat — hardlv less so than the alleged fact that Ma}'hew, who 
proposed the Almanac, as he proposed so many other good 
things for Punch, should have gone to the incarcerated 
Grattan for sole assistance, when he and his co-editors 
had so many capable colleagues at large. The claim does 
not deserve full credence, especially in face of Landells' 
declaration that " everyone engaged on it worked so admirabh' 
together, and it was done so well, that the town was taken by 
surprise, and the circulation went up in that one week from 
6,000 to 90,000 — an increase, I believe, unprecedented in 
the annals of publishing." The Almanac became at once the 
talk of the day ; everybod}^ had read it, and a contemporary 
critic declared that its cuts " would elicit laughter from tooth- 
ache, and render gout oblivious of his toe." 

Now, although Bradbur\' and E"\'ans had hesitated to 
become proprietors, they had had no objection to act as 
printers and publishers, and when the editors approached them 
they lent a ready ear. '* It was Uncle ^Mark," said *' Pater" 
Evans at the ''Gentleman's Magazine" dinner in 1868, "who 
was the chief conspirator Avhen they brought Piincli to White- 
friars ; it was his eloquence alone that induced us to buy 
Punch. Jerrold did not say much, but he supported his friend, 
vou may be sure. They talked us over very easily." They 
bought the editors' share for ;^2oo, which they advanced on 
the security of the whole. Into the circumstances of the 
subsequent squabbles between Landells and the firm it is 
not needful to enter. He bitterly complained that he could 
obtain neither statements of accounts nor satisfactory aiTange- 
ment, while the firm withheld their favourable consideration 
of the agreements his solicitors sent them to sign. The nego- 
tiations proceeded wearily from April, 1842, to December 
24th, with rising wrath on the part of the good-hearted, im- 
patient Northumbrian, who could neither understand nor brook 
the repeated delays, and fairly boiled o\er with indignation, 
suspicion, and wrath. In despair, so Landells recorded, that 
his lawyers could get no satisfaction, and yet " not willing 



The History of "Punch." 

to put the whole thing into Chancery," he blurted out that he 
should buy back Bradbury and Evans' share or they acquire 
his. As cool business men they promptly asked his price. He 
named ;^45o, ultimately reducing it to /"400, and further to 
/350, on the understanding, he says, that he should continue to 
act as engraver; and great were his anger and humiliation when- 
he found after the second week of the new regime that the 
engraving was taken from him. But it is only fair to say that 
in his lawver's instructions there is evidence that Bradbury and 
Evans persistentlv declined to gi^'e up their freedom in the 
matter of the engraving. The transfer then took place.* On 
December 23rd, 1842, the firm was already speaking with some 
authoritv ; the voice was the voice ot the printers, but the 
tone was the tone of proprietors. And that was the passing 
of Punch. Earlier in the year Lnndells had made an effort 
to save the paper h\ persuading those who worked for it to 
take shares. With a few he was successful ; others were less 
speculative, so the writer was infonned by the late H. G. Hine. 
" Landells," he said, "asked me to take a share in the paper, 

* When the purchase was completed, a curious making-up of accounts 
proceeded between the parties as to the woodblocks which were to accompany 
the paper. These accounts, referring to the titles of the engravings, read 
curiously enough. Here is a specimen : — 

£\2 6 o 

12 12 o 

Xo. 22. 

;^I2 10 6 

Deduct Collared 1 



No. 25. 

Brown's wrapper (i.e. 


piece drawn by 



K. Browne) ... 

15 12 6 

Deduct 270 

No. 32. 

13 3 6 


£ s.d. 





Bald Head 




Great Sale in Beer 


Collared Beef 





All round my hat 


Leg of Mutton 


Tall Lady 


Turning over a Page 






Letter P 


14 i5 

/2 7 O 

These cuts were for the most part drawn by Brine, Hine, and Newman. 

Balancing Accounts. 


but, not being a business man, I declined. When the paper 
changed hands, Bradbury and Evans bought it for so small an 
increase on the actual losses and debts, that each man, when 
the profits were divided, received two-and-sixpence each." 
Not long after Landells ceased his connection with Punch, 
Douglas Jerrold met Vizetelly, and acquainted him with the 
turn of the tide. ^^ Punch is getting on all right now," he 
said ; and added, in his saturnine wa}', " It began to do so 
immediatelv we threw that engraving Jonah overboard ! " Yet 
Jerrold was glad enough to take advantage of the engraving 
Jonah's influence the following year, when Landells, with 
Herbert Ingram, X. Cooke, T. Roberts, W. Little, and R. 
Palmer started the " Illuminated Magazine," and installed 
him as editor at a handsome salary. 

The following page from Landells' rather rough-and-ready 
accounts will give some idea of how financial matters stood 
between the parties at the time of the transfer :— 

B. & E Cash Recd. 

i s. d. 

Accts. 1,278 6 9 

Editors, Artists, paid 507 4 5 

771 ■ 2 3 

B. & E. Cash Paid. 

£ s. d. 

Cash paid to Artists, 

Editors, etc. 
B. & E. for ])rinting 605 10 6. 


B. & E. acct. 






Balance in hand 




E. Landells. 


To Engravings 315 
Cash 25 
Paid contributions at 
£6. 0. per week 120 





° i 

Lemon, Coyne, 

To Editing 

h debt 


£ 5. d. 



1 rloKt 




rs i 

Cash received 

360 4 o 

57 o o 

/303 4 o 







\_Note. — The schedule of documents and legal papers connected with the 
matters here dealt with, now in possession of Messrs. Bradbury, Agnew 

D 2 

36 The History of "Punch." • 

and Co., Ltd. (which confirm the particulars derived from Landells' papers) 
are :■ — 

1. The original Agreement between the original founders of Punch already 
enumerated. This is dated July 14th, 1841 — only three days before the 
appearance of the paper. It is printed at length as Appendix i to this 

2. Agreement between Bradbury and Evans and " Punchites," whereby in 
consideration of a loan of /150 the printing of the paper is assured to the firm. 
This is dated Oct., 1841, the signatories being E. Landells, Mark Lemon, Henry 
Mayhew, and Stirling Co}ne, with W. H. Wills and G. Windsor as witnesses. 

3. The assignment to Landells of PuncJt and the stock-in-trade by Lemon, 
Mayhew, and Stirling Coyne. Dated December 6th, 1841. 

4. Assignment to Bradbury and Evans by Landells of his two-thirds share 
of Punch. Dated, July 25th, 1842. 

5. Assignment of his remaining one-third to Bradbury and Evans by 
Landells, in consideration of /loo cash and their acceptance for /250 due 
Jan. 31st, 1S43, their mortgage on this share to be cancelled. This deed is 
dated Dec. 29th, 1842, and is in the terms of Landells' letter of agreement of 
the pre\ious 24th.] 

The new proprietors, when they acquired their interest in 
Punch, were not then distinguished pubhshers such as they soon 
became ; they were essentially printers, and had few connections 
to assist them in making it into a paying propert}'. They had, 
however, W. S. Orr & Co. (the London agents of Chambers, ot 
Edinburgh), who had fallen into financial difficulties, and looked 
to Bradbury and Evans to help them out ; and through their organ- 
isation Punch was taken up by the trade " on sale or return." 
To work up the sale of a threepenny publication was at that 
time a formidable task; but Orr certainly accomplished it, and 
for a time Punch undoubtedly owed more to his efforts than to 
Jerrold's pen or Leech's pencil. The head of the firm, in both 
senses, was William Bradbury, the keenest man of business 
that ever trod the flags of Fleet Street, and the founder of a 
dynastic line nearh" as long and eminent as that of John 
Murray himself. His portrait may be seen in Punch more 
than once — for example, in Tenniel's drawing of the Staff at 
play at the^ beginning of Vol. XXVIL, 1854, where his tall, 
imposing figure contrasts with that of his partner, Frederick 
Mullett ("Pater") Evans, who appears with shining spec- 
tacles, beaming countenance, and convex waistcoat. Jolly old 
"Pater," who died in 1870, was the model of Leech's /rt/e-r- 
familias ; and it is remembered to his credit that he never 

Bradbury and Evans." 


F. M. ("pater") EVAN'S. 
{From Photographs by A. Bassano Limited.') 

38 The History of " PuNCHy 

resented the liberty taken with him b}' Thackeray in "The 
Kickleburvs on the Rhine." It .has ahva3's been the graceful 
and feeling practice of Punch, ever since the death of Dr. 
Maginn, to whom a kindly obituary was devoted in 1842, to 
do honour in his pages to each of his lieutenants as they drop 
out of the ranks, recognising misfortune and death — both 
"devil's inventions," as Ruskin calls them — as toll-gates on 
the path of life, with sorrow as the tax; so that these more 
solemn articles and mortuary elegies seem to mark the way, 
like milestones set by loving hands. To Evans one of these 
was raised, and we read in it that "they who inscribe these 
lines to his memory will never lament a more kind, more 
genial, or more loyal friend." 

The next head of the firm was William Hardwick Bradbury, 
who had been at school with Mr. Justice Romer, the husband 
of Mark Lemon's daughter ; and the house then became 
Bradburv, Evans & Co. He married the daughter of Mr. 
Thomas Agnew; and when, .in 1872, Mr. F. M. Evans (the son 
of "Pater") left the firm, after having attended the Dinner for 
five vears as the son of his father, and sat for another seven 
years at the tail of the Table by right of proprietorship, the 
business was reinforced by the inclusion of the house of Agnew. 
It then became Bradbury, Agnew & Co., and it has been 
thought that Sir William Agnew's personality has tended to 
colour Punch up to a certain point with just a shade of his own 
Liberal political opinions. Messrs. W. H. Bradbury, William 
Agnew, Thomas Agnew, and John Henrj^ Agnew were then the 
members of the firm, which a few years since was converted 
into a limited company ; and on the death of the first-named, 
Mr. W. Lawrence Bradbury took his father's place as managing 
head of the house, with Mr, Philip Agnew as colleague : young 
men, surely, to succeed to the direction of a house which had 
been the publishers of Thackeray and Dickens_, founders of 
" The Field," " The Army and Navy Gazette," printers of the 
" Family Herald" and " London Journal," of the " Daily 
News," the " English Encyclopaedia," and other huge under- 
takings. With the advent of the younger generation came 
some of those technical alterations and improvements which 

Bradbury, Agnew and Co.' 





{From Photographs by A. Bassuno, Limited.) 


The History of ''Punch." 

have brought the production of Piuich abreast of the times ; 
but the older traditions, in particular that great institution of 
the Pujich Dinner, have been reverently and lovingly retained 
in all their admirable features. 

It is not surprising that after the striking success of the ex- 
periment the Almanac became a permanent annual institution. 
Into so important a publication did it develop, commercially 
speaking, that a special " Almanac Dinner " has up to recent years 
always been considered necessary, at which its chief contents 
are arranged, just as at the ordinary weekly Dinner. Hine, 
Kenny Meadows, and others assisted in the production of the 
first two or three Almanacs ; but after that, and for many years, 
practically the whole of the illustrative work usually fell on 
the broad and entirely competent shoulders of John Leech, 
especially after Doyle's secession. From time to time experi- 
ments have been made in the direction of novelty. Thus in 
184S, in consequence of the great popularity of the issue, a 
luxurious edition was prepared, at the price of five shillings 
for the coloured and half that sum for the uncoloured copies, 
wherein, it was claimed, " full effect is given to the artists' 
designs." It was certainh^ an imposing affair, with meadows 
of margin, and printed on one side only of the thick paper ; 
and it now commands a price in the bookshops of five or six 
times its original cost. 

Humour for private as well as for public consumption 
has always been a rule in the Punch circle; and in 1865, a 
3'ear in which influenza colds were extremely prevalent, this 
pleasing faculty was given full scope. Most of the Staff that 
Christmas were afllicted with severe colds ; so with amiable 
consideration the copies of the Almanac provided for them 
and for some of the chief contributors were printed upon linen 
— lest their supph' of handkerchiefs should run short. They 
were charming and cheerful in appearance, being handsomely 
bound and stitched with red, and presented unusual ad^■antages 
in the way of utility and entertainment. Of recent years the Al- 
manacs have had admirably drawn wrappers, specially designed. 
In 1882 Mr. Burnand tested the powers of our humorous painters 
outside, in addition to Punch's own Staff, including Mr. Stacy 

"Punch" as Father Christmas. 41 

Marks, R.A., Mr. G. A. Storey, A.R.A., and Sir John Gilbert, 
R.A.; but the result was an argument in favour of Staff- work 
over outside contribution. Among other experiments, colour 
was tried with a view to rendering further homage to Sir John 
Tenniel's cartoon, by printing it on a tinted background, in 
the manner of Matt Morgan's famous designs in the " Toma- . 
hawk." But the idea, which originated with the late Mr. 
Bradburv, did not answer expectations, and the attempt was 

The success that immediately attended the Almanac 
naturallv attracted the attention of the pirates, and hatched 
the brood of spurious and coarse imitations given forth by 
such notorious printers and publishers as Goode, Lloyd, and 
Lvle. But Punch had a short legal wa^' with him that 
soon scared them off, and the merry Hunchback is now left 
supreme in his own sphere. He not only, as the " Times " 
said, " commences the winter season for us with the ' Almanac,' 
but he continues the tradition of Charles Dickens by 
retaining for Christmastide much of the fine heartv old 
flavour which the great novelist imparted to it — that jo^•ial, 
tender, charitable, roast-goose spirit that exhales from it, the 
Spirits of Christmas Present and Christmas Past." " Christmas 
without the Christmas number of Punch," exclaimed the 
"Saturday Review" not long ago, "would be a Christmas 
without plum-pudding, mince-pies, turkey, and children's 
parties — it would not be Christmas at all ! " 

Another result of the constant search for freshness was the 
changing of the design on the cover of each consecutive volume. 
Any change from that of Henning could only be a change 
for the better, so a second application was made to HabhJt 
Knight Browne (" Phiz ") for his collaboration. Well satisfied 
by this time with the tone of the paper, he gladly responded. 
The result was a refined and artistic page, crowded with 
figures, rather gi-aceful and quaint than funny ; and although, 
to Leech's horror, a barrel-organ figured in it, it served its 
purpose admirably. 

For the next volume a sketch was made by H. G. Hine, 
based on a slighter one bv Landells. It was not used, 

42 The History of "Punchy 

however, as intended, but adapted as the index-heading ; and 




Cia-.:r. t:«*. 

a C». Bd 7. 3(«i,c>, £4 


; IS.! Joha 



tif««. GlaJKOW. lull's; W. Cirrr. Jna, 

■^ C 

* Lirmwot. 




MutOIBT^ SiBB> A Diahui 

. !.*» 

> S=:i>i. S*i 

■a. E W.lUiB, & M-, pococfc I B> 

C. Ib.-iiK-: 



Si.-^rtjo; S 

uraK«A», WrijtuoQ a WtM. ; 

Bccrw. J. Gidikr: 

Bj«^. J 


; Sk^inu. 

W i W. 8. B,l«. B>n>tv. C 


■m^tai tUacr 

Kizx ; a*:inK, M n. BiMKu 

B-iv. C. Tbajaca: Bmfi. ScT. LoiiUa: CuuKiW 

C. Torah 

tr. \rjlls>i: Cntram. Snaooe & i'c. 

ccttArd: Cou, 

B»di«iS & Co. 

Dor^^uTB. Bink« A 


Co. i Onvsk, W. Bttdu^of; DvmKxa, Ktirtw ; Eisra, Carne ft }«•, m4 J. W^b> 
ub: Puaacn, J. H- Ait. G-Likc: boieuvms, W. Desbcm: Hi-u., J. Psrin; 
InwKB, J^a BorMa ; LuBi>>n«<. W. R««*« ; Lucdtik, J. C. Brows mad J. ASco ; 
I^n^ Slsooaba k S^>. ud T. Buriwa : Virrsnis. J. Sokttli: Nivcuru, E. A 
J. Bran: Nmvkb. JumU & S«t ; Nvrrmaiii, C. N. Wr^lit; OxMW, H. JUiuw 
aail.UvaiMJl raKUsen.Oacrfai^: Pumo. G. BUMUa; Rzieo^ C. l.»t«ji j ; 
R<nuT>, Bucan ft H«at; Sawvaia, J. Ci^iet, lod A. W&Iiukci: Sowvnoai, 
SudGvd it Cfc : Socnuivn*. W. Sfcu-Uad; Tiorov, AJcz. Pile, WmvBia, Elicc- 

Cndi^rr »:J d 

Prlaun. WliittfrUrt. 



William Han'ey, the Shakespearian ilhistrator, was requested 
to undertake a design to replace it. This, though yet more 

William Harvey Desigxs a Wrapper. 


graceful than Browne's, was less suitable than ever. Babes 
like amonm to_ving with Punch's cap and baton, bells and 
mask, were very pretty and charming, but a good deal too 



much in the style of Rubens or Stothard ; and what was 
thought more unsuitable still was the price. Mr. Birket 
Foster has borne witness to the consternation in the office 

44 The History of ''Punch." 

when the charge of twelve guineas was sent in with the 

©■ The WEEKLY NUMBERS, as well as the Monthly Parts, tnsv be had of ail Booksellers & Newsmen. 




Scotland: J. Mcniies. EJiiibut^li ; anil John .M-Lcod. Arsylc.&tr«t. 
Glasgow. IiitXA-sn: W.Curry, Jim., i Co. LirsRroot.Wareios Welib. 
Castle street ; Makchcster, ginuns tt Dinham. and Abel Deywood ; 

ItrRMivGHAu, Wrigbts^m ti Webb; BniitTOU Mre. Bingbam ; BI'a^- 
G. TI'Dinpson : NonwicH, JarTt>1d dtSons; P>;££n>s. G. Biitcm;.D . 
WAKeriELi}, UlingM'ortb te Bicks 

Bndbut, k Zya 



design — nearly half the total capital with which Landells a 
•year before had begun the concern! 

S/A' John Gilbert's Design. 


Six .months later Sir John Gilbert— then a voiith doine 

^ Ttie WEEKZtT NUBIBERS, ad «veU as the Monthly Parts, may be had of all Bookaellen dc NewtmeDj 
and a STAMPED EDITION, Co send free by post, is also published, price 4d. 

l.tMlt.K t.\f.n1 «A1UH 



ScTTLAwo: J. Meniies, Edinbursb; and John M'Lwd, ArEvle-Bitcct, i Bi«>iiNon«»i. Wr:?h(?rn ft W»bb; BuisTflt, :<lr* Bingham; nr«t» 

GIwpjw IsetAKO: W,Curry.Jun.,iCo, Lrv«Rj>ooL:Warei(is\Vebb, I G, Tliompjon : Nokwkm. JnrrouL A Gods : rnnTvi, O. U^brnua: 

Caetle-strect : Uakchzstsr, Sinmis & IJiiiluua, imil At>cl liejrwooil; I WakckicU'. lUlngwoctL ik UiU:*. 



great things for the ^' Ilhistrated London Xews " — was com- 
missioned to draw another front page. This was subsequently 

46 The History of ''Punch." 

used until recent years as the pink cover of Punch's monthly 

jjj- .J.JJ5 WEEKLY NTTUfBERB, aa well &B the Monthly Parts, may be Had of all BooSsellerg & Newsmen, 
and a STAMPED EDITION, to send free by post, is also published, pnce 4d 

Pnblislied every Satnrdajr — Price Tbrcepence, 


OFFICE, 194, STRAND (Opposite St. Clement's Ciidiwb.) 

SccTiA'*©- J. Hec«[«, E^fntareh: wi^ John M'trtd. ATgy'*******. I BtiiMi!»o««M. Wrishtioo Jh Webb: BwtroL. Mn. TMrtthvn: Tlc"y, 

OUsaDW UEtA!«o: WCiifnr,Ji:n.,4CA, r,.»««p»«L: WareiogWtbb. I C T'i->iT>p«oo: P»i<»Tt.«. O n>i*tnaij : ruroM>. II gUt^er : Wmkpeud. 

C»stle.«reel; 31*»cwx»i««. S:mn. i tiinhua.mad Attl llerino^; I ll'.laiWbttb fc IJkk*. U*r7«. Simrt* * Soo. 

JlDCcr?;? III. 


parts. A cover was produced by Kenny Meadows, and then 
for January, 1844, Richard Doyle, the latest recruit, whose 

Richard Doyle's First Design. 


merit had been quickly gauged, was employed to execute 
the new one. This wrapper^ was far more in accord with 

e* The WEEKLT mntlBBRS, as well as the Monthly Parts, may be ha.d of all Booksellers & Newsmen, 
and a STAMPED EDITION, to send free by post, is also published, price 4d. 

Jt5n £OLI> £T A2X 1 

The Fifth Volome of Punch is just Published, price 8s. Punch's Almanarfr may be had of all 

Booksellers and Newsmen. Price 3d, or Stamped 4d. 



the true spirit of Punch. ]More sportive and rollicking, and 
with less attempt at grace, it threw over the style of the 
" Newcastle School " — of which Landells was a member — 


The History of '' Puxch." 

and gave the general idea of the latest of all covers. This 
was not executed until January, 1849, when several changes 

A MAK MADE OF MONEY. % doiglas jerrold. j THE EISIKG GEITEEATIOK. T»*k« oioured Dnmap. by 

n-ii-.wte-i br JoH> Leich. Part IV, Pmc Li. IP-A..M \ JOHN I.EECH. U acli, or 10/. SJ. ih* Sei. ry««b>4-> 

PENDZNNIS. B,'^ ^\- 51. THACKEBAV, wiili IIluitiatioM on Stc*I I PUNCH'S POCKET-BOOK niu«tn*.ti l>» JOHN LEECH mJ 

ir.d Wgc'., tv tie AuOior. Put III., Price U. 

RICHARD DOYLE. Price 2*. W. 



Is ] Ty<_ price 111.. lUaitratwl *ltb Two Haaa/«4 ir^odcou. «ad Taeoij I B; DOI'GLaS JEBRDLD. KckIj b<mo<3 la Fcap- Sv«. wai lUiutrawd bj 

la-^e Coloured Swtl Ei>fr«»iBff». bj J0H5 LEZCa. I Joa* Lufi. Frlce Ji. M. 

Bndbor; & E*JiM, Frlatcn* mutefrian. 



of detail were made, including the substitution of the smug 
lion's head for that of Judv in the canvas — the whole so 

A Bounding Circulation. 49 

successful that it may safely be predicted that it will never 
be superseded. 

Such are the co\ers — comprising what ]\Ir. W. Bradbur}' 
used to call "our wardrobe of old coats" — which, though 
interesting enough in themselves, certainly included nothing 
to equal the last design, by which Doyle's name is best 
known throughout the artistic world. 

Guided b}- the success of the first Almanac, the con- 
ductors decided to work the same oracle by publishing *' extra 
numbers" at everv promising opportunity. "Mr. Mayhew, 
]Mr. Jerrold, and I," says Landells, "happened to spend a 
few days in the summer at Heme Bay, and there ' Piuich's 
\'isit to the Watering Places ' was projected. These articles 
gave Punch another gi-eat lift. ^Messrs. Mayhew, ]\Iark 
Lemon, Douglas Jerrold, and I, did Heme Bay, Margate, 
Broadstairs, and Ramsgate, and I never enjoyed myself more 
than on this, to me, memorable occasion. Albert Smith did 
Brighton. Punch thenceforth became an established favourite 
with the public, and the weekly circulation averaged over 

Just before this lucky stroke, another not less fortunate 
as a succes d'estime, if nothing more, was ''Punch's Valentines " 
— -at that time considered a most remarkable production ; for 
there were no fewer than twelve half-page engi-avings within 
its full-page borders— a generous amount that puzzled the 
public far more than ten times as much and as good would 
do to-day. Kenny :\Ieadows, "Phiz,"* Leech, Crowquill, 
Henning, and Xewman, contributed each two "valentines," 
which were addressed to various sorts and conditions of 
people, accompanied b\- verses of considerable humour and 
more than average merit. Thus, to the lawyer— whom 
" Phiz " has represented as a mixture, in equal parts, of 
Squeers, Brass, and Ouilp— the lines begin in a manner 
not unworthy of Hood himself: — 

* It is a curious fact that the biographer of Hablot K. Browne is altogether 
silent on his Punch work, although it lasted with intervals over a quaner of a 
century. The particulars of this work are referred to further on, when runch's 
artists are passed in review. 

50 The History of '' Pu.xch!' 

" Lend me your ears, thou man of law, 
While I my declaration draw, 

Your heart in fee surrender ; 
As plaintiff I my suit prefer, 
'Twould be uncivil to demur, 

Then let your plea be — tender.'' 

The invocation which follows, to a gorgeous footman, by 
some love-smitten serving-maid, ends — 

"But now fare thee well! — with your ultimate breath, 
When you answer the door to the knocking of Death, 
On your conscience, believe me, 'twill terribly dwell. 
If now you refuse to attend to the belle .' " 

In August, 1850, in the extra number called " Punch's Holi- 
days," that was done for the outskirts of London which eight 
years before had been done for the watering-places. It was 
illustrated b}^ Leech and Doyle, and, it may be added, the 
Hampton Court section was written by Thackeray. Then 
when the great Shakespeare Tercentenary was being cele- 
brated, with singularly little ec/al so far as the Shakespeare 
Committee itself was concerned, Punch produced his " Ter- 
centenary Xumber." It was in all respects admirable, and 
Tenniel's double-page cartoon was a striking success — as might 
have been expected from a Staff so remarkably well versed in 
Shakespeare. In that cartoon the poet's triumphal car, drawn 
by twin Pegasi and dri^•en by Mr. Punch, is followed b}' a 
motley procession, in which Mark Lemon, in the character 
of John Bull, appears adapted as Prospero (one of the best 
of the many portraits of the editor that have appeared in the 
paper), while a t3'pically malignant organ-grinder is Caliban, 
and all the leading statesmen and sovereigns are represented 
in Shakespearian character appropriate to the circumstances ; 
the "Standard" and "Morning Herald," two of Punch's pet 
aversions and journalistic butts, bringing up the rear as the 
Witches in " Macbeth," Mesdames Gamp and Harris. The 
illustrators of this exceptionally happy number were — besides 
Sir John Tenniel — Charles Keene, Mr. du Maurier, and Mr. 

Special Numbers. 51 

" Then came the unwieldy " Records of the Great Exhi- 
bition, extracted from Punch," on October 4th, 1851. Punch 
had made a dead-set against the exhibition in Hyde Park 
(until his friend Paxton was appointed its architect, subse- 
quently earning ^20,000 by the work), and, according to Mr. 
Justin McCarthy, " was hardly ever weary of making fun of 
it . . . and nothing short of complete success could save it 
from falling under a mountain of ridicule. The Prince did 
not despair, however, and the project went on." And when 
it was a fait accompli, Punch, good man of business that 
he was, at once put it to the best possible advantage, ])y 
issuing his enormous " extra " of nine prexiously-published 
cartoons by Tenniel and Leech, and many other cuts besides 
— the whole, in point of its double-folio size, more suitable 
for street display than library reading. The price was sixpence, 
and with all the special matter it contained it was one of 
the cheapest productions e^-er issued from that office. 

With the special Paris Exhibition number, produced in 
celebration of the Exhibition of 1889, the list of extra numbers 
issued by Punch for general circulation comes to a close. 
Nearly the whole of the Staff, including the proprietors, 
travelled to Paris together — how luxuriously, Mr. Furniss's 
drawing of their dining-saloon gives a good notion ; it contains 
(with Sir John Tenniel and Mr. Luc}') portraits of all who were 
present. Charles Keene had stayed at home ; he felt unequal 
to the jaunt, and was, in fact, sickening for the mortal illness 
which soon had him in its grip. The "Paris Sketches" in the 
number that bear his signature were— like the '' war corre- 
spondence from the front " concocted in Fleet Street— quieth' 
drawn at home down at Chelsea. One thing primarily the 
number showed : that Punch's national prejudices haAe mel- 
lowed with time, and that a Frenchman may be accepted as a 
cultivated gentleman and a genial companion— a ^•ery different 
being to him whom Leech habitually drew as a llabby-faced 
refugee in Leicester Square, "with cstaminct clearly written 
across his features," while Thackeray applauded the conception 
in his most righteous hatred and contempt for all things vile. 
Tw^o other special means has Punch adopted with the \ie\v 
E 2 

52 The History of ''Punch." 

of pleasing his constituents and confounding his enemies, ex- 
clusive of the mock Mulread}^ envelope known as the " Anti- 
Graham Envelope" and the "Wafers," which are elsewhere 
referred to. The first of these was the music occasionally 
printed in his pages from the hand of his own particular 
maestro, TuUy, the well-known member ot the Punch Club, 
whose musical setting of " The Queen's Speech, as it is to be 
sung by the Lord Chancellor," appeared in 1843 ; the polka, 
at the time when that dance was a novel and a ■ national 
craze, dedicated to the well-known dancing-master. Baron 
Nathan; ''Punch's Mazurka," in Vol. VIII. (1845); and one 
or two other pieces besides. The other was a coloured 
picture representing a ''plate " — a satire on the poor and 
inartistic "coloured plates" then being issued by S. C. Hall's 
"Art Union." It was a clever lithographic copy of an ordinary 
"willow pattern" plate; a homely piece of crockery, broken 
and riveted, beneath which is inscribed : " To the Subscribers 
to the Art Union this beautiful plate (from the original 
in the possession of the Artist) is presented, as the finest 
specimen of British Art, by Punch." It was designed by 
Horace Mayhew ; but the edition was extremely limited — 
not a hundred copies, it is understood — on account of the 
expense, which it was thought was not justified by the 
excellence or the likely popularity of the joke. 

Such have been some of Punch's efforts outside the usual 
routine, and the result has been the continual popularisation 
of the pajier. Volume after volume, too, in various forms, 
has been republished, culminating in the " Victorian Era," 
"Pictures from Punch," and "Sir John Tenniel's Cartoons;" 
and each one has but served to attract the favourable notice 
of the public to the ordinary issue. So Punch has developed 
his power and his resources. To him one might almost apply 
what a Welshman said of his friend : " I knew him when 
he wass a ferr}' poor man — quite a poor man walking about 
in the village; and now he drives in his carriage and twice!" 



" Here let us sport, 
Boys, as we sit ; 
Laughter and wit 
Flashing so free. 
Life is but short — 
When we are gone. 
Let them sing on, 
Round the old tree." 

— Thackcray^s " Mahogany TrecP 


Origin and Antiquity of the Meal — Place of Celebration — The " Crown " 
— In Bouverie Street and Elsewhere — The Dining-Hall — The Table — And 
Plans — Jokes and Amenities — Jerrold and his " Bark " — A Night at the 
Dinner — From Mr. Henry Silver's Diary — Loyalty and Perseverance of 
Diners — Charles H. Bennett and the Jeu d'esprit — Keene Holds Aloof — 
Business — Evolution of the Cartoon — Honours Divided — Guests— Special 
Dinners, "Jubilee," "Thackeray," "Burnand," and " Tenniel " — Dinners 
to P;(;u-/i— The Punch Club— Exit Albert Smith— High Spirits— " The 
Whistling Oyster" — Baylis as a Prophet— "Two Pins Club." 

Among the Parliaments of Wits and the Conclaves of Humor- 
ists the weekly convention known as "the Punch Dinner" 
holds highest rank, if importance is to be judged by results and 
pre-eminence by renown. For three-and-tifty years have these 
illustrious functions been held, fifty to the year. And those 
two thousand six hundred and fifty meals mark off, week by 
week, the progress of English humour during the Victorian 
era— not the humour of literature alone, but the humour, as 
well as the technical excellence, of one of the noblest and 
most vigorous and delightful of all the sections of English 

This solemn festivity, therefore, has a solid claim to being 
included among the scenes of English artist -life. If it be 
conceded, as I think it must, that Punch has been for lialf a 

54 The History of ''Punch" 

century an eifective, even a glorious, school of art — of drawing 
in black-and-white and of wood-cutting alike — it follows that 
the weekly repast which has helped to bring these things 
about claims attention and respect among the Diets of the 
world, and demands a first place in virtue of public service 
and by right of artistic performance. 

But it is not in the spirit nor with the fashionable view 
of the Royal Academicians and their imposing banquet that 
the members of the Punch staff hold their weekly junket. 
"We Enghsh," said Douglas Jerrold, "would dine to celebrate 
the engulfing, of England." Yet if "the Punchites" share the 
feeling of old Timon that " we must dine together," it is 
neither for purposes of self-congi^atulation, nor yet of hospi- 
tality. Though good-fellowship is near the genesis of the 
institution, work and serious aim are at the root of it all, 
and in the midst of all the merry-making are never for a 
moment forgotten. 

Nevertheless, conviviality, 3'ou may be sure, counted for 
something in the arrangement when Queen Victoria's reign 
was 3^oung. Clubs there were not a few about Fleet Street 
and the Strand, where the men who founded Punch, and 
their friends and enemies alike in similar walks of life, 
would hob-nob together, and where the sharp concussions 
of their diamond-cut-diamond wit would emit the sparks and 
flashes that were remembered and straightway converted into 
"copy." In those early days the flow of soul was closely 
regulated by the flow of liquor, and the most modest of 
Dinners was food at once to bodv and to mind. " What 
things," wrote Beaumont in his Letter to Ben Jonson — 

" What things have we seen 
Done at the ' Mermaid ' ! Heard words that have been 
So nimble and so full of subtile flame, 
As if that every one from whom they came 
Had meant to put his whole wit in a jest, 
And resolved to live a fool the rest 
Of his dull life." 

As in Elizabethan times, so in the days of Victoria. The 


PuncJi Dinners of the last few decades would, in their excel- 
lence and refinement, have astonished the merry crew of old ; 
but the entertainment is now but the prelude to business, and 
not, as in the earlier struggling months, the powder that served 
to fire off the great guns of humour. The weekly Dinner was 
evolved from the gatherings that were held nearly every even- 
ing, as well as Saturday-nightly, in the anxious days that pre- 
ceded — and immediately succeeded, too — the laboured birth oi 
Punch. The first of these — the very first " Punch Dinner," 
strictly so-called — was held at "La Belle Sauvage," Ludgate 
Hill, on the spot now occupied by the publishing firm of Cassell 
and Company. Hine was one of those present at this his- 
vloric feast, having been already impressed by Landells into 
the service of the paper. I may add, as a matter of minor 
histor}^ that Mr. Price, the owner of the hostelr}', advertised 
his house in the early numbers of Punch : a fact which 
suggests (perhaps unjusth^) a mysterious financial under- 
standing on the score of his bill — especially as Mr. Price 
was a brother-in-law of Bradbury the First. These tavern 
repasts were soon divided up between those who wished 
to work and those who wished to play ; and the Punch 
Dinner and the ^' Punch Club" were in due course estab- 
lished as separate institutions. For all that, the meetings of 
both were held in the "Crown Inn" in Vinegar Yard, just 
off Drury Lane, and the "Club" was not long after (1843) 
celebrated in the pages of Punch itself by the " Professor," 
Percival Leigh, in his choicest dog-Latin — his most elegant 
latin de cuisine— or, as he himself called it, " Anglo-Graeco- 
Canino-Latinum." The lines, a parody of Goldsmith's " Re- 
taliation," begin thus : — 

" Sunt quidam jolly dogs, Saturday qui nocte frequentant 
Antiqui I^rifaroy qui stat prope moenia Druri, 
BovX6f^el'ol saccos cum prog distendere rather, 
Indulgere jocis, necnon Baccho atque tobacco . . ." 

— lines which, with a few of the succeeding ones, I may 
render thus, the spirit and the text being followed as closely 
as may be : — 

56 The History of '' Pu-XChT 

" Some jolly dogs on Saturdays at fall of night are fain 
To haunt the ' Crown ' beside old Drury, hard by Drury Lane ; 
Their object, to expand themselves with dainties of the feed 
And give the hour to jest and wine, and smoke the fragrant 

Such fellows, sure, ne'er graced before that jovial mundane 

To them I sing this song of praise— those mighty men of soul. 
Whose fame henceforth shall spread abroad, so long as time 

shall roll. 

" The ' Crown ' stands in a quiet yard, yet near the noisy street ; 
'Tis their local habitation — in its dining-room they meet. 
The massive table, brightly spread, groans with the mighty feast. 
The viands change. To-day 'tis beef with Yorkshire pudding 

dressed ; 
Next week perchance the dish that Hodge will grinningly define 
As ' leg o' mutton, boiled, with trimmings.' Heartily they dine. 
Here flows the Double X, and flows the Barclay-Perkins brew ; 
Nor is there lack of modern sack that best is known to you 
When waiters call it ' off-n-off ' — which waiters mostly do." 

Here it was that the wits of pen and pencil tirst laid their 
heads together in the service of Mr. Punch ; and when they 
left for more private, if not more venerable, quarters, the room 
was occupied, first, by comrades of the same order of wit — 
among whom Augustus Mayhew, James Hannay, Watts 
Phillips, and others started a short-lived comic broad-sheet 
called "The Journal for Laughter;" and then by "The 
Reunion Club "—a coterie which, in 1857, was to become far 
more widely known under the style and title of the " Savage 
Club." It was situated next door to the "Whistling Oyster," 
and faced a side entrance to Drury Lane Theatre — a fairly 
large first-floor room, looking larger by reason of its low 
ceiling, but well lighted by its three high windows. When 
I visited it in 1893, ^^ wooden staircase had been replaced 
by a steep stone-way ; but the approach and the ascent were 
still steep enough to make one wonder how the portl}' 
Lemon could, without difficulty or fear of accident, scale the 
classic heights, and twist his body to the needful turns. 

''From Lowly Huj- 









58 Tin. History of ''Punch!' 

Although, as I have said, conviviahty and convenience 
were essentiahy identified with the Punch Dinner, especially 
in its embr}-onic stage, when frequent interviews were neces- 
sary and the dail}' occupations of many of the Staff precluded 
an earlier attendance, it was quickly seen that the chief prac- 
tical use and effect of the Dinner was to broaden the men's 
view of things, to produce harmony of tone and singleness 
of aim, to keep the Editor constantly in touch with his whole 
Staff, and through them with the public ; and thus to secure the 
fullest advantage which their combined wit and counsel could 
afford. When the transfer of the paper was completed from 
Ebenezer Landells to the house of Bradbury and Evans, the 
regular Dinners were soon established at Xo. ii, Bouverie 
Street, E.G., now given over to the Posts and Telegraphs. 
The second floor was considered not too undignified for the 
purpose ; but the descent to the first was made in good time, 
Mark Lemon taking the vacated room for his editorial office ; 
and when in 1867 a general removal was effected to No. 
10, the present dining-room — or Banqueting-Hall, as it was 
finely called — was specially constructed for its high purpose. 
At first these repasts were held on Saturday night, when the 
paper was made up and sent away to press. But when the 
true value of the meetings became apparent, the day was 
changed to Wednesday. The Dinner was established ostensibly 
for the discussion and determining of the "big cut," and the 
function became as exclusive and esoteric as a Masonic initia- 
tion. From that day to this it has, with few exceptions, been 
held januis clausis ; and beside it the Literarj' Ladies' Dinner 
and Bluebeard's Chamber are as open to the world and free 
from mystery as the public streets at noon. 

The room in which it was held, so long the Temple of 
the Comic Muse, had little in itself to command the attention 
of the superficial observer. The stairs which Thackeray trod, 
and which resounded to the quick light step of Jerrold and 
to the heavier tread of Leech, exist no longer ; but the classic 
shrine is practically as it was when the " Fat Contributor," 
pushing roughl}- past the young 'prentice engraver who 
opened the door to his ring, gave no thought to him who 

■To Marble Halls. 

















The History of '■'Punch" 


was soon to make the name of Birket Foster famous in the 


To-day a large — one might say an imposing — apartment on 
the first floor looking upon the street is approached, as most 
front offices in London City are approached, from a landing 
leading through an open office. Upon the table are a water- 
jug and a couple of goblets of cheap and distinctly unlovely 
Bohemian glass. A tobacco-box, hardly less ugly (coeval, one 
would say, with the room itself), a snuff-box, and long pipes 

serve to recall that respect for the 
past and for tradition which is one of 
the most delightful, as it is one of the 
most successful, elements in Punch's 
composition. Here you may see Sir 
John Tenniel's long churchwarden, 
with his initials marked upon it, and 
Charles Keene's little pipe — for these 
two men would ever prefer a stem 
between their teeth to a cigar-stump. Statuettes in plaster of 
John Leech and of Thackeray, by Sir Edgar Boehm, as well 
as a bust of Douglas Jerrold, decorate the mantelpiece or 
the dwarf-cupboard; and on the walls are many frames of 
abiding interest. 

Here you have the portraits of the four editors — that of 
Mark Lemon painted by Fred Chester, son 
of his life-long friend George Chester, and 
the likenesses of Shirley Brooks, Tom 
Taylor, and IMr. Burnand in photogi-apliy. 
The portraits of the Staff, taken by Bassano 
in 1 89 1 at Mr. William Agnew's request, to 
the number of fourteen or fifteen, hang 
separatel}' in tlieir dark frames. The 
original of one of Tenniel's. Almanac de- 
signs ; a masterly drawing, two feet long, 
by Keene, bought by the late Mr. Brad- 
bury at a sale — the (unused) cartoon of Disraeli leading the 
principal financiers of the day in hats and frock-coats across 
the Red Sea ("Come along, it's getting shallower"); the 


The " Punch " Dining-Hall. 



oris:inal of Leech's celebrated " Mr. Punch's Fancy Ball," 
and a series of the enlarged coloured prints of his hunting 
sketches ; a caricature of Mr. 
Furniss by Mr. Sambourne, made 
in Paris ; another of Mr. Sam- 
bourne by Mr. Furniss ; and a 
third of ]Mr. Sambourne by him- 
self ; a caricature in pen-and-ink 
and colour of the Punch Staff 
marching along in Paris, b}' Mr. 
Furniss ; a black-and-white sketch 
bv the same artist of the same 
distinguished company in the train 
on the return journey ; and another souvenir of the Paris 
trip bv Mr. du [Maurier, including the portraits of himself, 
Mr. Burnand, Mr. Arthur a Beckett, and ^Ir. W. Bradbury. 
The trophy-frame of specimen proofs of some of the finest ot 
Swain's cuts of the artistic Staff's best work, gathered together 

for show in one of the great exhibitions, 
has been removed to make room for 
photographs of Gilbert a Beckett, 
"Ponny" (Horace) ^Vlayhew, Charles 
Keene, Tom Taylor, Percival Leigh, 
Charles H. Bennett, R. F. Sketchley, 
John Henry Agnew, Thomas Agnew 
and William Bradbury, Mr. Fred Evans 
and Sir William Agnew ; while photo- 
gi-aphic groups of the Staff and a fine 
autotype of Thackeray complete the 
wall decoration of one of the most in- 
teresting apartments in London City. 

And in the corner, on the locker 
farthest from the street, besides a little 
papier-mdchc figure of a Japanese 
Punch— sent by an admirer in the 
Land of the Rising Sun— and a group 
charmingh- modelled from Sir John Tenniel's beautiful cartoon 
of "Peace and the Xew Year," stands the statue of the 



The History of ''Punch': 


Great Hunchback himself, which in a fit of enthusiasm a 
young German sculptor, named Adolph Fleischmann, wrought 
and presented to the object of his admiration. It is a work 
of no little grotesqueness and ingenuity (well modelled and 

coloured, and fitted with springs 
that permit of the working of arms 
and eyes and head), which, endowed 
with a white favour, has played its 
part in the decoration of the pub- 
lishing office on the occasion ot 
certain royal weddings and public 
rejoicings, and during the blocking 
of Fleet Street has been utilised in 
the direction of comic self-advertisement. 

Then there is a real " Royal Patent " appropriately 
framed, " hereby appointing Master Punch unto the Place 
and Quality of Joke Maker Extraordinary to her Majesty," 
dulv signed and sealed b}^ the Lord Chamberlain, and 
countersigned " J.A.X.D. Martin." It is undoubtedly a 
genuine certificate — up to a point ; l)ut how it was 
obtained, and how PiuicJis name came to be filled in, 
remains to this day a mystery. Such is the room, with its 
pleasant decoration of red and black and gold, with its large 
windows and its sunlight gaselier ; but, take it for all in all, it 
is about as unlike Mr. Sambourne's classic representation of 
the Roman atrium in his Jubilee drawing 
as well could be imagined. 

And the Table itself — tJic Table — the 
famous board of which we all have 
heard, yet none, or but very few of us, 
have seen — I myself amongst the for- 
tunate few ! As a piece of furniture 
this hospitable, but rather primitive, piece 
of joinery is not of much account, the top being of plain 
deal {pace Thackeray's '^Mahogany Tree"), oblong in shape, 
with rounded ends. But its associations render it a treasure 
among treasures, a rich and priceless gem. For at this Table 
nearly every man upon the Staff has, from the day it was 


AxD ''Punch" Table. 



made, sat and carved his initials upon it with a penknife, 
when officially elevated to Piuich's peerage. As each has 
died, his successor has taken his place — just as the Institut 
de France creates Immortals to fill the chairs made vacant 
b^ jdeath — and he has cut his initials 
or his mark close b}^ those of the men 
who occupied the place before him. 
There they are, staring at 3'ou from the 
Table like so many abecedarian skeletons 
at the feast ; and if you take a furti\'e 
and hasty peep from the doorway and lift 
the green protective cloth you catch sight 
nearest you of a " D. M." in close com- 
pany with a beautifully-cut " W. M. T." 
and a monogrammatic leech inside a bottle 
flanked by a J. and an L. ; and you gaze 
with deep interest on the handiwork of them and of the rest, 
man}' of whom have carved their names, as on that Table, 
deep into England's roll of fame ; and of others, too, who, 
with less of genius but equal zeal and effort, have a strong 
claim on the gratitude and the recollection of a kindly and 

laughter-loving people.* 

For more than forty years, then, this 
Table has week by week, with few excep- 
tions, been surrounded by the Staff of the 
day; and the chair, the self-same old- 
fashioned wooden editorial armchair, has 
been filled by the reigning Editor. "With 

* The initials and monograms appear in the following 
order round the Table : — i, Mark Lemon; 2, F. C. Bur- 
nand (second carving, after stencil by Prof. Herkomer, 
R.A.) ; 3, John Tenniel ; 4, Shirley Brooks; 5, Arthur 
a Beckett; 6, R. C. Lehmann ; 7, W. M. Thackeray; 
8, Henry Silver ; 9, Harry Furniss ; 10, John Leech ; 11, 
G. du Maurier ; 12, W. Bradbury ; 13, Douglas Jerrold ; 14, E. J. Milliken ; 15, F. 
M.Evans; 16, Tom Taylor ; ly.Linley Sambourne ; iS, Phil May; 19, J. Bernard 
Partridge ; 20. E. T. Reed ; 21, H. W. Lucy ; 22, F. C. Burnand (first carving) ; 
23, Gilbert a Beckett; 24, Anstey Guthrie; -25, Horace Mayhew; 26, Percival 
Leigh. Charles H. Bennett died before he could complete his monogram, and 
Mr. R. F. Sketchley neglected the duty— an omission he ever after regretted. 

SHIRLEY brooks' 


The History of "PujWCh." 


few exceptions," I said ; for Bouverie Street has not invariably 
been the hatching-place of the Cartoon, nor XvAxe its walls 
resounded with absolute regularity to the lau8:hter and the 
jests of the merr}--makers. During the summer the Dinner 
has been, now and again, and still is, held at Greenwich, at 

Richmond, Maidenhead, 
or elsewhere — Hampton 
Court and Dulwich 
rather frequently, of old, 
as well as once at Har- 
row, and sometimes at 
Pur fleet, Windsor, and 
Rosherville. Sometimes, 
when occasion has de- 
manded—in the " dead 
season," maybe, when the attendance at the Table has 
dwindled, though for no sustained period (it is even on record 
that the "Dinner" has consisted of a tete-a-tete between Sir 
John Tenniel and Mr. Arthur a Beckett) — not more than 
three or four consecutive weeks, certainly — the " Sussex," or 
more often the old " Bedford Hotel," or latterly the " First 
Avenue," has been the scene of the feast ; while 
" special dinners " (and they have been many) 
have been held in special places. And not in- 
variably has the weekly repast been a "dinner" 
at all, be it observed ; for on certain rare occa- 
sions, when some important Parliamentary matter 
has intervened, a luncheon has been held instead. 
Once; in September, 1845, it was postponed from 
the Saturday night at the intercession of Charles 
Dickens, so that a new play by Macready might 
be produced with the full advantage of the Punch men's 
presence. And the Dinner was once more made a movable 
feast, and was held on the Tuesday instead of the Wednesday, 
on the occasion of the pro,duction of Mr. Burnand's and Sir 
Arthur Sullivan's opera of "The Chieftain" in December, 1894. 
In the "Bedford Hotel" — beloved of Thackera}-, for in it 
he wrote much of " Henr}' Esmond," and stayed there when 

•?. M. EVANS 


The Staff at Table. 



his house was in the painters' hands— the room occupied was 
that known as the " Dryden." Here the Staff would make 
no attempt at self-repression ; and I have been told how the 
idle and the curious would congregate 
outside upon the pavement an-d listen to 
the voices of the wits within, and wait to 
gape at them as the}' passed in and out. 
The places at Table once occupied 
by the members of the Staff are nowa- 
days regarded as theirs by right. But 
in earlier da}'s the places were often 
shuffled, as at a game of " general post." 
Proof of it may be had from the follow- 
ing plans of the Table between 1855 

and 1865 — perhaps the most interesting years in the history 
of Punch, as demonstrating the transitional stage, when the 
ancient order of things was rapidly developing into the 
modern as we know them to-day. In 1855, then, the dis- 
position was as follows : — 

William Bradbury* 

Douglas Jerrold John Leech 

Tom Taylor W. M. Thackeray 

Gilbert a Beckett Shirley Brooks 

Horace Mayhew Mark Lemon 

Percival Leigh John Tenniel 
F. M. Evans* 

— onlv two artists and a half (Thackeray being a connnixture 
of writer and draughtsman) to seven writers and a half! 

Five years later — in i860 — the places had changed, partly 
through death, partly through rearrangement : — 

William Bradbury* 
W- M. Thackeray (when he John Leech 

Tom Taylor 
Horace Mayhew 
Shirley Brooks 
Percival Leigh 

[came) Henry Silver 
Charles Keene 
John Tenniel 
Mark Lemon 
F. M. Evans* 

* Proprietors. 

66 The History of "Punch!' 

Here the artistic element is seen to be asserting itself to 
some extent, the proportion between artist and writer being 
further readjusted after the lapse of another five years : for 
in 1865 the constitution of the Table became — 

F. M. EvAxs* 
Tom Taylor G. du Maurier 

W. H. Bradbury* (his Henry Sil\-er 

father seldom came now) Charles H. Bennett 

Horace Mayhew 
Charles Keene 
F. C. Burnand 
Percival Leigh John Tenniel 

Mark Lemon 

F. IM. Evans, Jr. 
Shirley Brooks 

— the Editor for the first time taking his proper place at the 
Table, although, it is true, it was only at the foot. 

To-day the number of the Staff has been increased, and 
the right proportion struck between the pen and the pencil 
— the Editor, too, presiding. 

Mr. F. C. Burnand 
Sir John Tenniel Mr. F. Anstey 

Mr. Linley Sambourne Mr. Henry Lucy 

Mr. Arthur a Beckett Mr. E. T. Reed 

Mr. R. C. Lehmann Mr. Bernard Partridge 

Mr. Harry Furniss (until Feb. Mr. Phil May 
Mr. du Maurier [1894) Mr. E. J. Millikex 

Sir William Agnew (sometimes) 

Mr. Lawrence Bradbury or 

Mr. Philip Agnew 

In the decade or so following the death of Douglas Jerrold 
— roughly corresponding with the period within which the 
aiTangements varied as I have shown — six new appointments 
were made to the Table. These were : Mr. Henry Silver, 
in August, 1857; Charles Keene, February, i860 (after a nine 
years' probationership) ; Mr. F. C. Burnand, June, 1863 ; Mr, 
G. du Maurier, November, 1864 ; Charles H. Bennett, February, 
1865 (though ill-health prevented him from taking his place 

* Proprietors. 

A Question of Taste. 


until^iie following June); and Mr. R. F. Sketchley (till 1894 
of the South Kensington Museum), January, 1868. The present 
Staff, I may add, since Mr. du Maurier's accession, have taken 
their places at the Table in the 
followins: order : Mr. Linlev Sam- 
bourne, ^Ir. Arthur a Beckett, Mr. 
E. J. Milliken, Gilbert a Beckett, 
Mr. Reginald Shirle}' Brooks (until 
1884), Mr. Henr}' Lucy, Mr. F. 
Anstey, Mr. R. C. Lehmann, ]Mr. 
E. T. Reed, Mr. Bernard Part- 
ridge, and in February, 1895, Mr. 
Phil May. As Mr. Punch ap- 
proached man's estate, and arri^'ed 
at ^•ears of artistic discretion, he 
cultivated a pretty taste in epi- 
curism ; until to-day, if report be 
true, the Dinners (prepared and sent 
in by Spiers and Pond), the A3'ala, 

F. C. 

and the cigars, are all ^vorth^• of 


(i) On joining the Table, and (2) on 
appointment as Editor. 

the palates of the men whose wit 
it is theirs to stimulate and nourish. To summon the Staff 
to these feasts of reason it was in later years the practice to 

issue printed notices, which after 
1870 were superseded by invitation 
cards drawn by Mr. du Maurier — 
the design representing ]Mr. Punch 
ringing his bell, while the faithful 
fly hurriedly to respond to the be- 
hest. But owing to the number of 
portraits it contained of old friends 
now departed, and the painful re- 
collections it consequently aroused, 
its later use has been discontinued. 
But when our Democritus boasted 
fewer years, there was not so much ceremony in his banquet, 
neither was there so much state ; nor was the friendship less 
keen or the intimacy less enjoyable in Leigh's humbler days 
F 2 


68 The History of "Punch." 

of " off-n-off." A wonderful company — a brilliant company ; 
with flashing wit and dazzling sallies, with many " a skirmish of 
wit between them." From more, the quieter flow of genial 
humour. And among the rest, the listeners ; men — some of 

them — who prefer to 
attend than to talk, even 
to the point of reserve 
;, and almost of taciturnity. 
', Such men were John 
Leech, Richard Dovle, 


and Charles Keene — 
whose silence, however, masked subtle minds that were teem- 
ing with droll ideas, and as appreciative of humour as the 
sprightliest. What jokes have been made, what stories told 
that never have found their way into print ! What chaff, 
what squibs, what caricatures — which it surpasses the wit of 
a Halsbury or a MacXeill to imagine or condone ! 

Of what the Punch Dinner was at the time when 
Thackeray was still of the band, an idea may be formed 
from the following extract from Mr. Silver's Diary, with 
which I have been favoured by the writer, who for several 
years sat at it by right. He calls it — 

Scene : Mr. PiincJis Banquet Hall at No. ii, Bouverie Street. 
Time : Wednesday .^ March a/zfl', 1859, six o'clock p.m. 

F. M. EvAxs 

W. M. Thackerav y/*^ ^v John Leech 

Horace Mayhew / \ Tom Taylor 

Shirley Brooks V I Henry Silver 

Percival Leigh \^^ ^/ John Tenniel 

Mark Lemon 

' Turbot and haunch of venison — what a good dinner ! ' says 
Tenniel, reading menu. Tantalising to Tom Taylor, who has to 
dine elsewhere ; and Thackeray leaves early, to go to an ' episcopal 

Cabinet Council in Whitefriars. 


tea-tight,' as he tells us — a jump ' from lively Lu severe,' to Fulham 
Palace from the Punch Table. 

Tom merely looks in ' to hear what 3-ou fellows say about 
the I^^Reform Bill,' which Dizz}- introduced on Monday. So we 



)0, T3o)^ve:ie Siicex, Z.S. 

''^^'^'^ pfeaauie of tiout Coiiipaiiij u jceaunWi 

at fiafP-pa^t oix ofiatp. 

jlti aiijwet, ip uiiaUle to come, wilt oblige 


begin discussing politics even with the venison. ' Ponn}- ' Mayhew 
condemns the Bill : does nothing for the working man, he says. 
Tom thinks that people look to Punch for guidance, and that 
we ought to be plain-speaking, and take a decided course. ' Pro- 
fessor ' Leigh and Mark agree in thinking that we rather 
should stand by awhile, and see how the stream runs. All seem 
of opinion that Walpole acted as a man of honour in resigning, 
not being rich enough to make money of no matter to him. 

' Seria mista jocis ' being Mr. Punch's motto (though it never 
has been sanctioned by the Heralds' College), Shirley, apropos of 
money, asks, ' Why is Lord Overstone like copper ? ' ' Because 
he is a Lloyd with tin.' Whereat Thackeray lauglis heartily. 

Odd that there should now be three old Carthusians in 


The History of ''Punch." 


Mr. Punch's Council of Ten. Thackeray observes this to the other 
two of them [J. L. and H. S.], and proceeds to say, ' I went to 
Charterhouse the other day. Hadn't seen School come out since 
I left. Saw a touching scene there — a little fellow with his hands 

held tenderly behind him, 
and a tear or two still 
trickling down his rosy 
cheek, and two little 
cronies with their arms 
around his neck ; and I 
well knew what had hap- 
pened, and how they'd 
take him ?i\V3.y />riz'i7y, and 
make him show his cuts ! ' 
' Talking of cuts, Mark, how about the^Large one ? ' Thackeray 
suggests Lawyer, Doctor, and Schoolrpaster, standing in a row 
as prize boys, and Dizzy presenting them with votes. I pro- 
pose Diz trying to launch a lop-sided ' Reform ' ship, with the 
title * Will it Swim ? ' Mark suggests D. joining hands of artisan 
and yeoman, giving each of them a vote. Thackeray thinks of 
workman coming among gentle- 
men of Parliament and asking, 
' What have you done for 7Jie ? ' 
Professor Leigh considers situa- 
tion might be shown by Bright 
and Dizz}' poking up the British 
Lion, for clearly he wants rous- 
ing. ' Yes,' sa3^s Shirley, * and 
when he's roused, vou know, 
we can have another picture 
of him with his tail and monkey 
up.' Idea gradual!}' takes shape, 
and is approved,* though Ten- 
niel hardly likes it, and Leech wants to know if Ponny (Ala5'hew) 
would not prefer a good old-fashioned tragic cartoon of the 
virtuous and starving British Workman, with ragged wife and 
children, and Death a ghastly apparition in the background. 

This leads to a little spar between Ponnv and ' Pater ' Evans. 
Ponny lets flv with great vigour : ' Punch is standing still now ; 
used to take the lead, but no longer dares to do so. Avanfons ! '' 


* See Puncli cartoon, "Who will Rouse Him?" (March 12th, 1859). 

A Typical Discussion. 



waving hand excitedly. Pater calmly answers that the times are 
altered, and that Punch is going with them. Strong words have 
done their work, and there's no longer need of them. Nobody now 
talks about the trampled working man, nor goes trumpeting abroad 
the dignity of labour. Then Ponny 
shifts his ground, and complains that 
many clever fellows who are workers 
with the pen are now hardly earning 
more than many workers with the pick- 
axe. ' Well, it's their own fault,' says 
Pater ; ' they might easil}- earn more 
if they were not so idle.' Ponny replies 
they don't want luxuries, being men of 
simple tastes, and anything but Sybarites. 
' So am I,' cries Leech ; ' ni}- tastes are 

very simple. Give me a good day's hunting, and some good 
claret after it — nothing can be simpler, and I'm really quite 

But Ponny harks back to his ' deuced clever fellows,' applaud- 
ing one of them especially, a Bohemian friend of his, who, he 
says politely, is far cleverer a fellow than any at the Punch Table. 
' But what has he done ? ' asks Leech. ' Tell you what he doesn't 
do,' says Shirley; ' he may write a lot, but he certainlv doesn't 

wash much.' Somebody wonders, if 
he were proposed for White's Club, 
whether members would blackball 
him : and Shirley quotes Charles 
Lamb's remark, ' What splendid 
hands he'd hold, if only dirt were 
trumps ! ' Then Ponny shouts in- 
dignantly, ' There, never mind his 
hands ; think what a clever head 
he has.' 

Here Professor gives a little lec- 
ture on phrenology, impelled thereto by Ponny's capital allusion. 
Talking like a book, as his frequent manner is, he expounds in 
fluent phrase his deeply-rooted faith in this neglected science. To 
give idea of its importance, he vows he wouldn't keep a house- 
maid who had a bad head. ' No more would I,' says Shirley ; 
' I'd send her to the doctor.' ' I mean, a head ill-shapen,' 
explains Professor blandly, being ' the mildest-mannered man that 
ever cut a throat ' — in argument. ' A well-proportioned head 



The History of ''Punch." 


betokens a fine brain : whereas a skull that is cramped contains 
probably a mean one.' Avows belief not so much in the localisa- 
tion of organs as in their general development. Here Leech, who 
hates street music, professes horror at the possible development 

of organs, and wishes the}' were 
localised where nobody could hear 
them. Pa3-ing no heed to this flip- 
pancy. Professor explains gravely that 
peculiar formations incline to special 
acts, and that the development of cer- 
tain cranial organs — vulgarly termed 
' bumps ' — may be lessened or aug- 
mented in the course of early school- 
ing. ' Well, I do believe in " bumps," ' 
says Shirley, speaking with solemnity, ' yes, even in schoolboys' 
heads — if you knock them well together.' 

Mark next has an innings, and tells some of his stage stories. 
He tells them very funnily, and imitates Macready and many 
other actors in their vocal mannerisms. And he mimics operatic 
singers capitally, with sonorous words in mock Italian basso 
recitative. Among his tales is one of a half-tipsy actor playing 
in the ' Corsican Brothers ' and explaining their fraternal peculiarity 
— ' My brother in Paris is now feeling — hie — precishly shame 
senshations — hie — as myshelf ! ' Also tells of his once bringing 
out a farce called ' Punch ' at the Strand Theatre, wherein a parrot 
played a prominent part. One night a new parrot 
took its place, and used most dreadful language 
when the curtain rose. 

Story-telling being now the order of the even- 
ing. Silver tells of the gun trick being tried in 
the Far West. One day, just as the conjuror had 
caught the bullet in his teeth, another whizzed 
close to his head, and a voice came from the 
gallery, ' Guess, I nearly had you then, old boss ! ' 
At the next performance a placard was displayed, 
and gentlemen were begged to leave their rifles with the door- 
keeper. Shirley enjoys this, and says, ' Now, don't cry " connuj'' 
Ponny ! You're always crying " conmt " when anyone says any- 
thing. And you're always cracking up your chums. If a world 
was wanted anywhere, you'd say your brother had discovered one 
and had better be consulted.' 

Ponny then breaks out again with his bilingual vehemence 



Wednesday Consecrated to "Punch. 



and Parisian gestures. (Some 
people never can talk French 
without trying to shrug shoulders.) 
Brandishing his dessert-knife, he 
shouts, ' Avancons, mes amis ! go 
ahead, mj' boys ! En avant ! 
E.\cusez-moi,' and scatters scraps 
of French about, till Leech cries, 
'There, don't talk like a lady's- 
maid, Ponny ; why can't you 
speak English ? ' And, to change 
the. talk, he tells of a French sport'man taking his first fences 
here, with rather a fresh horse which has been lent him. After 
coming a couple of bad ' croppers,' which he conceives to be the 
usual style of leaping here in England, he says a little sadly, 
* My friend, I t'ank you for your 'orse, hot I t'ink dat I s'all jomp 
no more at present.' 

Somebody caps this with tale of a ' Mossoo ' who manifests 
deep sorrow at the death of an old hare, slain by an English 
visitor. ' Helas ! il est mort enfin ! Mon pauvre vieux ! I have 
shot at him for years ! He was 
all the game I had ! ' 

And Leech tells another story 
of a foreigner of distinction hunt- 
ing in the Midlands, and hearing 
the cr}- ' Stole away ! ' and shouting 
out excitedly, ' Aha, stole a vay, 
has he, de old t'ief ! Den I 
suppose we s'all not find a vay 
to him, and so we must go home ! ' 
. . . Which we do." 

R. c. lehmann's initials. 

Thus, for half a century has Wednesday evening been 
passed in the editorial office of Punch, just when its readers 
are discussing the merits of the previous week's issue ; and 
according to the verdict of those readers was attuned the 
men-iment of the Staff. It is on record how Douglas Jerrold 
would go radiant to the Dinners as " Mrs. Caudle" was 
sending up Punch's circulation at a rapid rate; "and was 
one of the happiest among them all." Thackeray, too, tirst 
tasted the delights of wide popularity in the success of his 


The History of ''Punch:' 


"Snob Papers," and he showed the pleasure he feh in his 
demeanour at the board. At one time these two men sat 
side bv side, and there was as httle love as space between 
them ; but with the good-humoured philosophy which is a 

tradition of that institution, the occasional 
differences of opinion, and the harder 
knocks of wit, and sometimes, even, the 
still sharper encounters of temper, were all 
glossed over. As Thackeray so truly re- 
marked himself—'* What is the use of 
quaiTelling with a man if you ha^•e to 
meet him every Wednesday at dinner ? " 
Nevertheless, in course of time he changed 
his seat from between Jerrold and Gilbert 
Abbott a Beckett, and, crossing over, 
faced his friend the enemy, while INIark 
Lemon, watchful and alert beneath the 
cloak of geniality, was quick to cast a damping word on 
inflammable conversation and— so far as he could persuade 
them to listen to a man so greatly their inferior in genius 
and intellect — to stem the threatened outburst. As a matter 
of fact, Jerrold always regarded Thackeray 
as a bit of a snob and viewed his entrance 
into Society — against which Jerrold had for 
years been hurling his bitterest darts — with 
very grave suspicion. " I have known 
Thackeray," he would say, " for eighteen 
years, and I don't know him yet" — 
almost in the despairing words in which 
I have heard a distinguished Academician 
speak of his still more distinguished Presi- 
dent. On the other hand, jMr. Arthur a Beckett has declared 
to me, "I never knew my brother so well as when I met 
him at the Punch Table." 

In the earliest weeks of Punch's existence Kenny 
Meadows had been the Xestor of the feast ; but when 
Jerrold joined the Staff three months later, he took by force 
of character and wit, and power of lung, a leading position 


F AC I LIS Descensus Tavern i. 



OF c. H. Bennett's 


on the paper and at the Table — a position which he never 
resigned. Notwithstanding his biting sahies, we may be sure 
that it was not Jerrold's primary object to make his victims 
wince. There is no doubt that the ''httle wine" that so 
stimulated him to witty and brilliant conversation 
full of flash and repartee, sometimes turned sour 
upon his lips, and changed the kindness that 
was in his heart into a semblance of gall. Mr. 
Sidney Cooper has gravely set it on record how 
on leaving the Punch Dinner Jerrold would tie 
a label with his name and address upon it round 
his neck, so that, should he in his homeward 
course be tempted to stra}- into the path of 
undue conviviality, he might sooner or later 
be safely delivered at his destination. Although 
the statement is in a measure confirmed in the memoirs of 
Hodder and of Blanchard Jerrold himself, one cannot help 
being struck at the conflict between it and the story of 
Jerrold's reply to the drunken young sparks who met him 
in the street at midnight, and asked him the way to the 
entertainment known as "Judge and Jury "—" Straight on, 
straight on as you are going, young gentlemen — you can't 
miss them ! " He was himself greatly pleased with his milder 
witticisms, and, it is said, chuckled complacently at the neat- 
ness of his conceit when toasting Mr. Punch, at one of the 
Wednesday Dinners, in which he declared that "he would 
never require spirit while he had such good Lemon-aid." 
He loved the paper as few others loved it, and very, very 
rarely missed the weekly gathering— attending it, indeed, up 
to within a week or so of his death. 

Xot less scrupulous in his attendance was Gilbert Abbott 
a Beckett, who, when residing at holiday -times at Boulogne, 
would regularly come up to town for their Cabinet Council ; 
and if ill-chance unavoidably prevented his wished-for 
presence, he would write— after the custom adopted by 
many of his colleagues— a full explanarion and apology. But 
the necessity very seldom arose. True son of his lather, 
Gilbert a Beckett was equally faithful to the Table, and in 

76 The History of ''Punch:' 

spite of the paralysis of the legs from which he suffered (and 
for which he was for a time dul}^ chaffed by the advice 
of Percival Leigh, lest there might be hysteria about the 
disease) he attended the Wednesday gatherings with what 
regularit}' he could up to within a fortnight before he died. 
Thackeray, too, for many years after he ceased writing for 
Ptinch would weekly join the Staff, and always received a 
cordial and affectionate welcome. The gentle Leech — who, 
according to Shirley Brooks, attended the Dinner for more 
than twenty years without uttering an unkind or an angry 
^vord — was at the Table within a few days of his death, but, 
in Brooks's words, "scarcely seemed to understand what was 
gfoinef on." And vet another member of the Old Guard, who 
stood by his post to the end, was " The Professor," Percival 
Leigh, whose sense of wit was dulled with age, but whose 
mind was otherwise as bright as e^•er. But at the Dinners 
the genial, courteous old gentleman was listened to, as ever, 
with deference by his younger collaborators, and from them 
he never had cause for suspicion that his powers were failing — 

" Full well they laughed, with counterfeited glee, 
At all his jokes, for many a joke had he." 

Another of PuncJis favourite sons was Charles H. Bennett. 
His life was a hard yet happy one, and his career was short, 
though not too short for fame ; and the last two years during 
which he sat at the Table were perhaps the merriest of 
them all. But his attendances, really owing to the illness which 
ultimately bore him down, were irregular. This irregularity, 
combined with his habit — then commoner even than now 
among artists — of wearing his hair very long, brought him one 
day a letter from his friends and fellow-diners in the following 
terms : — 

"PuncI)" Council, October 24th, 1866. 

Present : — Lemon W. H. Bradbury 

Evans G. du Maurier 

Horace Mayhew Evans fils 
Tom Taylor S. Brooks 

Leigh Tenniel 

C. H. Bennett is Memorialised. 

That this meeting deeply sympathises with C. H. Bennett 
on the state of his hair. 

That this meeting appreciates the feehng which detains 
the said Bennett from the Council until his hair shall 
have been cut. 

That this meeting deplores the impecuniosity which pre- 
vents the said Bennett from attending a Barber. 

That this meeting, anxious to receive the said Bennett 
to its bosom, once more organises a subscription to 
enable him to attend the said Barber. 

That this compan\-, having (limited) confidence in Mr. 
Mark Lemon, entrusts him with the following sub- 
scriptions in aid of the above object, and requests him 
to communicate with the aforesaid Bennett to the end 
that he may have his dam hair cut and rejoin the 
assembly of the brethren. 

(^tSncli) Mark Lemon 

Frederick Evans 
Percival Leigh ... 
Horace Mayhew 
Tom Taylor 
W. H. Bradbury 
George du Maurier 
F. M. Evans 
Shirley Brooks... 
J. Tenniel 

Stamps enclosed 























..£o o lo 

And these ten penii}- stamps, together with the letter, are 
to this day treasured by the artist's son. 

It ^Yas not surprising that Bennett was missed ; his animal 
spirits and his bright good-hnmour counted for a good deal 
at the Table ; and when he died, his colleagues organised 
elaborate theatricals and collected a large sum for those whom 
he loved and left behind in the pinch of poverty. 

If for some time before his death Charles Keene deserted 
the dinner-table, it was owing, as he has himself confessed, 
in no slight measure to political motives which developed 

78 The History of "Punch." 

about the time of the Russo-Tiirkish War, Keene was what 
Tories call a patriot and Liberals a " Jingo ; " and in his quiet 
way he felt so deeply that he thought it best to stay away — not 
that he loved Punch less, but he loved his convictions more. " I 
am sorry to say," he wrote, with doubtful accuracy, ^^ Punch is 
* Musco ' to a man except C. K., so he keeps away from that 
Liberal lot at the present conjunction." There certainly was, 
however, another reason, quite independent of politics, which 
kept Keene from the Table during the latter years of Mr. W. H. 
Bradbury's life. He was not, as his biographer, Mr. La3'ard, has 
pointed out, of much use in suggestion at the business function 
of the Dinner, and he looked less to his colleagues than to his 
friends outside for the jokes to which he drew his pictures ; 
so that his presence was not a necessity. Nevertheless, he 
would attend, now and again, until age began to tell upon 
him ; and his companions love to think of him, clutching his 
short-stemmed pipe to his mouth, puffing gravely, saying little, 
thinking much, quick at appreciating a joke, slow at making 
one, with an eye full of humour, and its lid and corresponding 
corner of his mouth quickl}' responsive to any quip or crank 
that might let fly. Eclectic in his humour as in his art, disposed 
to condemn any cartoon suggestion not thoroughly thought out 
as "damn bad," he was in the weekl}" assembly at the Table 
like the 'cello in the orchestra — not much heard, yet when 
there indispensable to the general effect and the general 
completeness, even though he only went "for company." 

I have lingered, perhaps unduly, over the social side of 
the Punch Dinner, for the company is of the best, and the 
subject an entertaining and a pleasant one. But serious 
business has to be discussed and transacted — and transacted 
it is, whatever jokes and ebullitions of bonhomie may form 
the running accompaniment to the work in hand. In Mark 
Lemon's time the Dinner began at " six sharp," and in Shirley 
Brooks's and Tom Taylor's a half-hour later ; but when 
Mr. F. C. Burnand took up the reins of power, the hour was 
advanced to seven o'clock, and on its stroke the Staff are 
generally found in their places. From all parts they come, 
just as their predecessors used to speed from Boulogne, from 

Beginning Business. 79 

Heme Hill, and from the Isle of Wight, so that their absence 
should not be felt nor their assistance lacking at the Gathering 
of the Clan. Sir John Tenniel comes from Maida A^ale, most 
likely, or from some spot near to London — which he has 
hardh' quitted for a fortnight together during the last forty 
years, save when, in 1878, he went to ^"enice with INIr. Henry 
Silver and left Charles Keene malgrc lui as cartoonist-in- 
chief. Mr. Sambourne arrives, perhaps, from a yachting 
expedition or from the moors ; Mr. du Maurier from his 
beloved Whitb}' or from a lecturing tour ; Mr. Lucy hurries in 
from the House of Commons ; Mr. Furniss, up to the time 
of his resignation, from some distant spot where he " enter- 
tained" last evening, and whence he would expect to be 
three hundred miles away on a similar errand on the morrow. 
But not for some time past, it must be said in passing, had 
either Mr. du Maurier or Mr. Furniss been so regular at the 
Table as in earlier days — Mr. Furniss by reason of his 
tourine, and Mr. du Maurier on account of the distance of 
his home, and the evil effect of tobacco-smoke on his eyes 
and nerves. 

Then when dinner is over and coffee finished, and paper 
and pens brought in — at half-past eight, as near as may be 
— the cigars come on and the waiters go off (including 
at one time the crusted Burnap, an original worthy of 
" Robert " himself) ; and not more rigidly was the Press 
excluded from the Ministerial Whitebait Dinner in the good 
old times, than are Cabinet Ministers interdicted from the 
Dinner of Mr. Punch to-day. Then the Editor, who has 
been presiding, invites ideas and discussion on the subject of 
the " bie cut," as the cartoon is commonlv called ; and no 
two men listen more eagerly to the replies— suggestions that 
may be hazarded, or proposals dogmatically slapped down — 
than Mr. Burnand, who is responsible for the subject, and 
Sir John Tenniel, whose duty it will be to realise the con- 
ception. The latter makes few remarks ; he waits, reflects, 
and weighs, thinking not so- much, perhaps, of the political 
or social, as of the artistic possibilities of the subjects as they 
are brought up, and other points that recommend themselves 

So The History of '' Punch r 

both to the artistic and hterar}- members of the Staff. All 
the while, perhaps, the Editor has a fine subject up his 
sleeve, and only brings it forth when the discussion has 
begun to wane. Or a proposal may be made at the very 
first by one member of the Staff that is accepted at once 
with acclamation — an event, however, of the utmost rarity ; 
or again, as is usually the case, the final decision may be 
gradually and almost painfully evolved from this symposium 
of professional wits and literary politicians. This is the time 
when the men are apt to lay bare their political beliefs (if 
any such they have) or their lack of them ; and I wager 
that if poor Keene could once more be present at a Punch 
Dinner, he would no longer charge it against the Staff that it 
is " Musco' to a man." 

Indeed, at the present time Punch may be considered to 
represent the old Whig feeling. Sir John Tenniel, Mr. Anstey, 
and Mr. Arthur a Beckett are credited with Tory bias ; Mr. 
Milliken, Mr. H. W. Lucy, Mr. R. C. Lehmann, and Mr. 
Reed represent the Radicals ; Mr. Sambourne is Unionist ; 
and Mr. Burnand, as behoves him who holds the scales, 
confesses to no political sympathies or antipathies whatever. 

Thus the subject of the cartoon is settled — often by the 
aid of the latest editions of the evening papers ; and being 
once settled, is very rarely revived on any pretext what- 
ever. On one occasion, however, when Mark Lemon was 
Editor, and Shirley Brooks was recognised as the best sug- 
gestor, an exceptional incident took place. The subject was 
duly decided upon, and Brooks went home. After he was 
gone, and none but ]\Iark Lemon, Charles Keene, Sir John 
Tenniel, and Mr. Henry Silver were left, Keene, to the 
surprise of the rest, made a suggestion in connection with 
the American War then being waged, that was immediately 
accepted as vastly superior to that which had previously 
been adopted ; and the future Editor was much astonished 
as he opened his paper on the following Tuesday and his 
eyes fell on a different and wholly unexpected cartoon. 
Yet, though Brooks was practically the Suggestor-in-Chief, 
it would be unfair to pass over the curious fitness of Leech's 

The Progress of Debate. Si 

proposals. They were always marked with equal judgment 
and taste, and, as it was admitted, his suggestions invariably 
were "just right." 

When the "big cut" has been decided on, the question of 
a single-page or double-page engraving sometimes comes up ; 
and then the legend has to be settled. This (iiTeverently 
known as "cackle" by those who produce it) is largely 
the work of Mr. E. J. Milliken, who nowadays occupies a 
good deal of Shirley Brooks's old position of "suggestor," 
and who, like him, is li^'ing testimony of the truth of John 
Seddon's saying that " wit and wisdom are born with a 
man." For many 3^ears Mr. ]\Iilliken has suggested the 
greater number of the cartoons, and he is generally the first 
asked for a proposal for Sir John Tenniel's cut. He usually has 
several subjects, carefully considered and as carefulh' written 
out, in his pocket-book, and fitted with peculiarh- felicitous 
quotations. He is also mainly responsible for the Almanac 
cartoons — subjects for both the great Punch satirists — Sir 
John, and Mr. Linley Sambourne. All, however, share with 
him the duty and the credit of the difficult art of cartoon- 
suggesting, and, no matter by whom it may be proposed, 
no subject is passed without full discussion. Every possible 
objection is heard and considered. Although Mr. Milliken 
may bring in his Bill, amendments are always proposed, and 
are either rejected or carried ; and then the Bill as amended 
becomes the subject of the cartoon. The title and legend are 
written on a piece of paper, which, enclosed in an envelope, is 
then handed over to the cartoonist. It was at this moment 
that Shirley Brooks used to throw down his knife in order to 
" cut " any further discussion, and after that symbolic act a 
more desultory conversation on the other men's work would 
follow. Not on Leech's, however ; for he was left greatly to 
himself — a piece of masterly inactivity and non-interference 
on the Editor's part which speaks volumes for Lemon's 
prudence and shrewd discrimination. 

Under Mr. Burnand's regime the course of events is a 
little altered. For even while Sir John has begun to think 
out the composition and the technical details of the subject 

82 The History of ''Punch!' 

which the Council has determined, and is scheming maybe 
in his own mind how best he may arrange his figures so 
that when he draws them the heads will not come across 
a join on the wood-block where its segments are screwed 
together ; or, again, how so to arrange an exceptionally 
elaborate subject that Mr. Swain may still ha^-e it ready for 
engraving in good time on the Friday evening, the attention 
of the Staff is now turned to the " Cartoon junior " — the 
second cartoon — to which for some years Mr. Linley Sam- 
bourne has been giving some of the finest and most ingenious 
work of his life. This is discussed somewhat like the first, 
and often enough raises the draughtsman's interest in the 
work he has to do to a point of genuine artistic enthusiasm. 
But there appears to be no finality about the second cartoon 
so far as the Dinner is concerned, and it is no unusual thing 
in li^'ely times for the subjects to be given at the last 
moment by telegram to ]VIr. Sambourne ; so that his con- 
dition of mind during the Thursday following the Dinner may 
not inaptly be compared to that of an anxious fireman 
waiting for a "call." The contributions of the rest of the 
artistic Staff — ]Mr. du Maurier, Mr, Bernard Partridge, and 
Mr. E. T. Reed — do not form the subject of \Vednesda}-'s 
cogitation ; nor is it true, as has publicly been stated, that 
when jokes fail it is customary to draw them from a pot 
into which, written on slips of paper, they have been deposited 
on the many occasions when Mr. Punch's cistern of wit has 
overflowed into the jar in question. 

Such is the simple function of "the Punch Dinner." The 
Editor presides — or, in his absence to-day, Mr. Arthur a 
Beckett, just as it was Douglas Jerrold and Shirley Brooks 
in Lemon's time, and Tom Taylor in Brooks's (the duty of 
vice- or assistant-editor never falling to an artist) — inviting 
suggestions, " drawing " his artists, and spurring his writers, 
with rare tact and art ; and he challenges comparison with 
any of his predecessors, just as Sir Frederic Leighton excels 
all previous Presidents of the Royal Academ}^ Some of those 
who sit around the Table, as I have already set forth, have 
attended for man}^ years ; and it is they who secure -to Punch 

Guests at the Table. 83 

that quality of tradition and healthy sense of prestige which 
strengthen him against every assault, whether of man or of 
Time himself. To this traditional sense of ancient glory and 
present vigour Sir John Tenniel has of course contributed 
more than any other li^•ing man ; not Leech, nor Thackeray, 
nor Jerrold, nor Doyle, served Punch more loyally or 
effectively, and he has secured that the dignified spirit of 
the paper has suffered no deterioration. To him it falls, also, 
to see that the subjects of cartoons are not repeated. The 
tenderness of the Staff for the honour, good name, and pre- 
eminence of PiLiich is delightful and touching to behold ; the 
sentiment of a great past animates them all, and kindles in 
them the hope and ambition for as gi"eat and as proud a 

The exclusiveness of Punch notwithstanding, he has not 
alwa3'S been as inhospitable (if that is the word to use of an 
essentially business meeting of a private nature) as some of 
his friends would have us suppose. There are many wjro 
claim the distinction of having dined at Pnncli s Table, but 
few who can sustain their pretension. Some, however, there 
are — a very few, it is true ; but more than have been officially 
recognised as Punch diners. Mr. Hany Furniss has publicly 
contended that his aunt, Mrs. Thompson, was one of these. 
As the lady, before she married Dr. Thompson, is said to 
have been originalh^ engaged to Landells, the first Punch 
engraver, this might well be ; for about the time of the 
transfer of the property from him to Bradbury and Evans 
— and Landells, it will be remembered, did not gi^"e up 
the whole of his share till some time afterwards — the rules 
and regulations were not by any means so stringent as 
thev ultimatelv became. In any case, the claims of " ]Mr. 
F.'s Aunt" have in her time been as strenuously insisted 
upon as ever they were at the Finchings'. Then came 
Charles Dickens — whose presence, I believe, is not con- 
tested. Before his quarrel with ALark Lemon and Bradbury 
and Evans, because Punch declined to print a justifica- 
tion of himself in connection with his purely domestic 
circumstances, he was the guest of Punch's publishers, who 

G 2 

84 The History of "Punch." 

were his own publishers, and who were also the publishers of 
the " Dail}^ News " — upon the preparations for which Dickens, 
as first editor, was then engaged. Moreover, Dickens was 
an intimate friend of Douglas Jen'old, whose influence on 
Punch at that time was paramount ; so that the double circum- 
stance is amply sufficient to account for Dickens's presence at 
No. II, Bouverie Street. Much the same considerations may 
be held to explain Sir Joseph Paxton's frequent attendance. 
The great gardener — it was Punch who christened his big 
exhibition building "The Crystal Palace," "What shall be 
done with the Palace of Crystal ? " — was the intimate of 
Mark Lemon. He had also the most cordial relations 
with the Staff, some of whom he would entertain in the 
gardens of Chatsworth, where he acted as the agent of the 
Duke of Devonshire, grandfather of the present duke, and 
himself on the best of personal terms with Mr. Punch. And 
I have proof that he exerted all his influence in favour of 
Bradbury and Evans's great new venture, through the inter- 
mediarv of Charles Dickens. "Paxton," writes Dickens in 
one of his letters bearing upon the subject that lie before 
me, dated October, 1845 — a few months before the launching 
of the " Daily News " — " has the command of eveiy railway and 
railway influence in England and abroad, except the Great 
Western ; and he is in it heart and purse." What more likely, 
then, that Dickens, at work at Whitefriars, should be invited 
b}- his friends, his publishers, to dine with his friends of the 
Punch Staff? — though he possibly did not stay to the Cabinet 
Council ; and what more reasonable than for them to value 
Paxton's considerable influence at the price of a graceful 
privilege, seeing that the "Daily News" thought it, in those 
early da5"S, worth while to appoint a "Railway Editor" at 
a salary of ;^2,ooo a year ? Moreover, Paxton was interested 
with Bradbury and Evans in "The Gardeners' Chronicle" 
(in whose columns he had first published the " Cottagers' 
Calendar"), to sa}^ nothing of his "Flower Garden," which 
he and Dr. Lindle}^ edited for them. Sir Joseph Paxton, 
then, w^as a constant and appreciative attendant at the Punch 
Table until the year 1865, the date of his death. 

Hospitality Duly Appreciated. 85 

Mr. Peter Rackham, too, was another guest — the guest, 
again, and vakied friend of the pubhshers — well understood 
to have given financial assistance in respect to the founding 
of the " Daily News." He was a highly esteemed friend 
of Thackerav and Dickens both, and the novelists and 
their publishers would send him presentation copies of their 
new works. The fomier, by the way, presented him with 
a cop}' of his "Virginians" when it appeared, inscribing it to 
Mr. Rackham in this characteristic manner: — "In the U. 
States and in the Queen's dominions All people have a right 
to their opinions And many don't much relish The A'irginians. 
Peruse my book, dear R., and if you find it A little to your 
taste I hope you'll bind it." Mr. Rackham ceased his visits 
to the Table in 1859, in which year, I understand, he died. 
Another visitor, as all the world now knows, was Dean 
Reynolds Hole, who has recorded in his "Memories" his 
impressions of that famous Dinner of February 15th, i860. 
To me, also, he has given an idea of the effect wrought 
upon him by the frolic of the meal — an impression certainly 
not dimmed by time nor faded in his imagination. He says : 
" There was such a clash and glitter of sharp-edged swords, 
cutting humour, and pointed wit (to say nothing of the knives 
and forks), the sallies of the combatants were so incessant 
and intemiixed, the field of battle so enveloped in smoke, 
that there was only a kaleidoscopic confusion of brilliant 
colours in the vision of the spectator, when the signal was 
given to 'cease firing.'" Who would not attend a Punch 
dinner after that ? 

A frequent visitor was Mr. Samuel Lucas — known to 
his fellow-workers as plain "Sam Lucas" — who was then 
editing the newly-founded "Once a Week" for Bradbury and 
Evans. His attendance, which was constant enough between 
the years i860 and 1864, was— like that of his sub-editor, 
Mr. Walford— doubtless a gi-eat convenience to all concerned, 
for most of the Punch artists and writers were also con- 
tributors to the more serious magazine, and ammgements 
could obviously be more quickly and effectively made at a 
single meeting than by a number of special interviews. Sir 

S6 The History of "Punch!' 

W. H. ("Billv") Russell, too, "dined on several occasions at 
the Punch Table, when ]Mr. ]\Iark Lemon and ]\Ir. Shirley 
Brooks were the Editors of the paper ; " the introduction, 
it is understood, being at the time when he was correcting 
the proofs of his Crimean book, which Bradbury and Evans 
were printing. 

And, lasth'. Sir John ]\Iillais — himself a contributor to 
Punch's pages — was once a Dinner guest. " I certainly dined 
once," he wrote to me a year or two ago, "at ah hotel 
in Covent Garden ['Bedford Hotel'] when Mark Lemon 
was editor of Punch, and I have always been under the 
impression it was one of their Dinners. The Staff onh* were 
present, and Lemon was in the chair, and I sat beside 
Leech. There were ten or twelve dining beside myself, and 
it was on a Wednesday." 

This point settled, then, as to Dinner guests — among 
whom, savs the proprietress of the "Bedford Hotel" (the 
niece, bv the way, of ]Mark Lemon), Peter Cunningham 
should also be included — other \isitors there are to be 
considered. If Punch does not rigidly obey the Biblical 
behest, and when on duty bent is not wholly "given to 
hospitalitv," he at least has allowed hospitality to sit with 
gladness when the business of the evening is done. From 
time to time outside friends were introduced, and, according to 
one witness, whose testimony I am unable to confimi, Tom 
Hood, Barham ("Tom Ingoldsby"), and Charles Knight have, 
at intervals, been entertained " after business hours." The 
Staff, at such times, would go into Committee over cigars and 
drinks and literary talk and jokes, and Leech would rumble 
out in his splendid great bass voice Barry Cornwall's " King 
Death." This was the only song of his which his friends 
remember ; and Ponny ^Nlayhew would seek to emulate it 
with the musical setting of Thackeray's " Mahogany Tree." 
He sang that song in chorus, all upstanding, that sad Christ- 
mas Eve when Thackeray died, among his friends of the 
Kensington coterie. He had brought in the fatal news to 
the jovial party, and then, says ~Sh. Frederick Greenwood, he 
proceeded : " I'll tell you what we'll do. We'll sing the dear 

Special Dinners and Jubilees. Sj 

old boy's ' Mahogany Tree ; ' he'd hke it." '' Accordingly 
we all stood up, and with such memory of the words as 
each possessed . . . and a catching of the breath here 
and there by about all of us, the song was sung." 

Then come the special PuncJi dinners, official and other- 
wise. In 1863 there was the Shakespeare dinner, that was 
held to aiTange the Shakespeare Tercentenar}- immber of 
P-iinch ; and a quarter of a century later there was the Paris 
iunketting that resulted in the Paris Exhibition number. 
Then there was the yearly festival celebrated by Sir William 
Agnew, and the " Almanac Dinner," which was usually held 
about the month of September — in olden times, from 1850 
to 1S85 — always at the "Bedford," but lately discontinued; 
and there is the Annual Dinner to the printers and the rest 
given by the firm — the first of which, under the name of 
'' wavzgoose," took place at the '^ Highbmy Barn Tavern." 
At these entertainments the Staff would sometimes attend 
and fraternise with printers and engravers, and would make 
a point of congi\atulating those "wood-cutters" whose recent 
work had specially delighted them. 

Punch has always been strong on Jubilees, and his 
"boys" have done their best to maintain them as a sacred 
tradition. On January 3rd, 1853, Jerrold celebrated his fiftieth 
birthday with a dinner given to the whole of his colleagues. 
Baily, the sculptor, was one of the " outside " guests on the 
occasion, and was so charmed with the brilliancy and jollity 
of the company that he offered, and in due time redeemed 
his promise, to execute its hero's bust. That work, one of 
the finest of the old Academician's portrait-busts, now, if I 
mistake not, belongs to the nation's collection of its great 
men's portraits. On Wednesday, June 27th, 1866, the 
memorable picnic and dinaer took place at Burnham Beeches, 
to celebrate Mr. Punch's fiftieth ^•olume, when the popular 
Editor received from his proprietors a purse of a hundred 
guineas and a tankard, and from them and the Staff a gold 
watch and chain of eleven links, with a lock in the form of 
a book, as recounted in the sketch of Mark Lemon's life. 

Then, arain, there was Thackerav's " Atonement Dinner," 

SS The History of "Punch" 

if I may call it so, for the slight he had unthinkingly cast 
upon the Staff. In his now celebrated laudatory essay on 
John Leech in the ''Quarterly Review" he had written: 
"There is no blinking the fact that in Mr. Punch's 
Cabinet John Leech is the right-hand man. Fancy a 
number of Punch without Leech's pictures ! What would 
YOU give for it ? The learned gentlemen who write the 
work must feel that, without him, it were as well left 
alone." Picture the indignation in the office, imagine how 
strongly would be resented this faux pas of Thackeray, in 
Avhich he allowed his enthusiasm for one friend to overlook, 
and that not inoffensively, the feelings of the others ! The 
writer was abroad at the bursting of his little bomb, and no 
one was more distressed than himself at the result of the 
explosion or readier to admit the feult. He wrote a hand- 
some letter of apology to Percival Leigh— he explained how 
" of all the slips of my fatal pen, there's none I regret more 
than the unlucky half-line which has given pain," and 
declared that it was more than his meaning; and he begged 
furthermore that the memory of the lapsus — painful equally 
to him and to Leech — might be wiped out in a dinner 
given by himself to the confraternity. And they all came 
to his house in Kensington Palace Gardens, and Thackeray 
was duly chaffed and teased— "and who can doubt," says 
Trollope, "but they were very jolly over the little blunder ?" 
Then there was the Staff dinner at the Crystal Palace to 
inaugurate the new series of "The Gentleman's Magazine," 
when Punch and Punch history were greatly to the fore ; 
and the great dinner at the "Albion" to celebrate Mr. 
Burnand's accession to the editorial chair — when not only the 
Staff, but for the first time since the early days all "outside" 
contributors to Pimch were invited, when, although the subject 
of the cartoon had previously been settled, a certain amount of 
business was gone through, just to show " how it was done." 
And who that was there on that great occasion will forget 
the speech of Mr. Blatchford — an artist who was the natural 
successor to Colonel Howard — he who signed his drawings with 
a trident ? — or Mr. Sala's sallies, in the funniest of orations, 

The Apotheosis oe Sir Johx Tenniel. 89 

at the expense of Mr. Samboiirne, who had expressly not 
donned evening dress ? Still more important than this was 
the Jubilee dinner held on July 19th, 1891, just five-and- 
twenty years after the Burnham Beeches picnic — in honour 
of Mr. Punch's hundredth volume. The "Ship" at Greenwich 
was the place of ^'enue. With Mr. Burnand in the chair, 
the members of the Staff seated as represented in Mr. Sam- 
bourne's well-known drawing of '' The Mahogany Tree," with 
Mr. W. H. Bradbury and Sir William As:new at one end 
of the table, with toasts to Mr. Punch himself, to Sir John 
Tenniel, to Mr. Burnand, and to the proprietors, the en- 
thusiasm "first grew warm and then grew hot;" and when 
a presentation of a silver cigar-box had been made to the 
Editor, it was duly resolved to meet again, the same company 
in the same place, fifty years hence ! 

The last state event in the world of P/^;/r/z-politico-rejoicings 
was the dinner to Sir John Tenniel on the occasion of his 
knighthood. Then the banquet was held at Hampton Court, 
and the " Mitre " was the scene of the ceremony. All the 
enthusiasm of the Jubilee revels reappeared in an intensified 
form. For not only was it all focussed upon one man, but 
in his case there was a great personal triumph, a national 
recognition of a great w^ork and of a splendid career, and 
in the eyes of the world the justification of that mighty art 
of black-and-white, which through the printing-press is a 
greater vital force than any other existing form of art — though 
despised till now in all official quarters — the art by which 
Punch rose to his pinnacle of greatness. And added to all 
this was the emotional note that prevailed throughout the 
harmon}^ of the feast, for not even Leech himself had captured 
more hearts than Tenniel — that Grand Old ]\Ian of Punch 
for whom not one member of the staff but entertains an 
affection of the warmest and the most cordial character, which 
even respectful esteem has had no power in moderating. 
But one event, and only one, could call forth greater enthu- 
siasm and greater emotion, and that, I apprehend, is when in 
six years time his Jubilee on Punch, b}^ the kindness of Fate, 
comes to be celebrated by his loving and admiring colleagues. 


The History of "Punch," 

Such are the chief semi-official chnners that have been 
held ; but the list would be swelled were those other occasions 
included when these men — never sated, it would really seem, 
with each other's company — would invite the rest of the StalT, 
or most of it, to dine at their private houses. How many of 
these entertainments were offered by Leech to the light- 
hearted and frisky band who 

" Judicious drank and greatly daring dined " ! ■ 

How many anecdotes might be told of such reunions^ as they 
swooped clown on Landells or on Lemon at Heme Bay, or, 
in the rollicking days of youthful indiscretion, would adjourn 
at midnight to serenade the snoringly unconscious Hine away 
in the wilds of Hampstead ! 

Certain complimentary dinners offered to the Punch Staff 
should find a record here, if only on the ground of complete- 
ness. The first public recognition was the Mansion House 
dinner which, under the title of " Literature and Art," included 
the Punch Staff, together with Charles Dickens, the members 
of the Royal Academy, and a few newspaper men, Dickens 
has left it upon record how his feelings were hurt at the tactless 
way in Avhich the well-meaning Lord Mayor, Sir James Duke, 
Bart., M.P., imparted to his guests the pleasure it was to him 
to meet with mere talent after being satiated with blood and 
rank in the persons of Royalties, Dukes, and Cabinet Ministers. 
He made them feel, in fact — and resent not a little— how 
hitherto the Mansion House had drawn its line at them, an 
en-or which Sir Stuart Knill in 1893 had the better taste 
to avoid. Somewhat of a similar blunder was made by Lord 
Carlisle, who invited Thackeray, Jerrold, and others of the 
Punch men to meet one or two of their own set, firmly 
persuaded that he was about to revel in brilliant conversa- 
tion, entirely forgetful of the fact that in all probability 
they were perfectly familiar with the others' stories and had 
their tricks of humour by heart. The result, as might have 
been expected, was an entertainment of conventional dulness. 
How could you expect, at a meal so pretentiously forced, 
of such affected joviality, to hear Jerrold ask the butler for 

Mk. Gladstone Di.xes with the Staff. 91 

"some ot ihe old, not the elder, port" ? as he would in the 
sanctity of their own precincts ; or retort on one who declared 
his liking for calf's-tail, "• Extremes meet ! " or (when the 
dish was calf's-head), " What egotism ! " and yet again, 
''There's brotherly love for you ! " Xot at my Lord Carlisle's, 
as in Bouverie Street, would you hear Shirley Brooks ask the 
famous two-edged riddle which Dean Hole reminds us of — 
"Why is Lady Palmerston's house like Swan and Edgar's? 
Because it's the best house for muzzling Delane [mousseline 
de laine) " — Delane being then unjustly suspected of having 
been "nobbled" during his visits to my lady's salon, at the 
expense of the "Times," of which he was at that time the 
editor. Nor would you enjoy the discomfiture of a disputant 
of " Master Douglas " (as Thackeray rather testih' named 
him), who, after chaffing the great wit for the unsteadiness 
of hand through which he broke a glass — which, he declared, 
he never did — received for reply an incredulous stare, and 
the cutting enquir}^, " Yet I suppose you look into one 
every morning ? " 

The latest outside Punch dinner of importance which 
history has thought well to set upon record is that given 
by Mr. Lucy (" Toby, M.P.") in order to bring together 
for the first time Mr. Gladstone and the members of that 
Staff which, as a body, had rendered him such steady and 
invaluable support for nearly half a century. What wonder, 
then, that the meeting was a great success, and that everyone 
present was on the best of all possible terms with his fellow- 
diners ? Yet " Moonshine," commenting on the event, de- 
clared with malicious good-humour that " It is said that Punch 
has been entertaining Mr. Gladstone. We don't believe a 
word of it, as we can't conceive that Punch ever entertained 
anybody ! " The object of this fair hit, the Editor of Punch, 
forthwith sought out the epigrammatist, in the belief that 
here was a new humorist whose services he might employ. 
He, however, who might have enlightened him, wrongh* be- 
lieving that the motive of the quest was less friendship than 
resentment, declined to give the desired information. But 
Mr. Punch appropriately avenged the insult— b\' subsequently 

92 The History of ''Punch!' 

absorbing it as a joke of his own, illustrated by the hand of 
Mr. Reginald Cleaver. 

Perhaps to these revels of the merr}- clan should be added 
the jovial meetings of the Moray Minstrels under the hos- 
pitable direction of Mr. Arthur Lewis. And yet a stronger 
claim on the memor}' of those who now bear Mr. Punch's 
hdion between them are the meetings refeiTed to in the 
letter from the late Sir A. H. Layard, which I received 
shortl}' before his death : "I was intimateh' acquainted 
with Tom Taylor, R. Doyle, and other contributors to 
Punch, and constantl}' met them at Taylor's table ; but I 
do not remember to have dined at a ' Punch Table ' on one 
of the Wednesday evenings. You may probably be aware 
that they, like m3'self, were in the habit of spending Sunday 
with Sir Alexander and Lady Duff Gordon, in their house 
at Esher, where many articles and jokes and sketches which 
appeared in the periodical were discussed." These meetings, 
however, must have taken place before the time of the " Papal 
Aggression," and some little while, consequenth', before Sir 
John Tenniel was enlisted as a recruit. 

Who will say, in the face of all this, that Punch has not 
learned the secret of combining pleasure with business, prac- 
tising the art with infinite satisfaction to himself and with 
the applause of succeeding generations?- "Where Macgregor 
sits, tJicrc is the head of the table," said the Scottish chieftain. 
Where Mr. Punch sits, say those of a later day, there is the 
flow of wit and of laughter — there the fountain of that 
fun which has stamped his journal as representative of what 
is most characteristic and best in English humour — there 
the source of the art which has been the greatest school of 
wood-drawing and cutting, and of true caricature, that this 
country has ever seen. Good-nature is the quality rarest and 
most remarkable in a political and social journal. How much 
of Punch's excellent temper, I wonder, is not to be attributed 
to his meat before grace? Whether "the Dinner" be the 
sole cause, I do not venture to pronounce, though I submit 
the question for the consideration of mankind ; but is it not 
imaginable that high living goes for something in the sum 

The ''Punch" Club. 93 

of Punch' s high thinking ? and ma}' it not ahiiost be said 
of him, as Moore sang of Sheridan, that his wit 

"... in the combat, as gentle as bright. 
Ne'er carried a heart-stain away on its blade " ? 

For a short time only the Punch Ckib flourished. " Its 
object," writes Landells, " was to form a little society 
amongst ourselves to talk o^'er and settle upon subjects for 
the paper of the coming week. It was not strictly confined 
to the Punch writers and artists, for friends and well-wishers 
were admitted, and had here an opportunity of entertaining 
their ideas in a sociable and agreeable manner. Besides 
those on the regular Staff of Punch, there were members of 
the club Mr. Grieve the scene-painter, Mr. Henry Baylis, 
Mr. Tully the composer,* Mr. Joseph Allen the artist, and 
I have seen in addition Mr. Charles Dickens, Mr. 'Stanfield, 
Mr. Frank Stone, Mr. Landseer, and other celebrities, in 
that little snug and comfortable room. Here the inimitable 
Douglas Jerrold was in his glory, showing off his ready 
sparkling wit, his joyous hearty laugh ringing out above 
them all. Alas! several of this once brilliant company 
have now passed away, but those who remain will ever 
remember the man)- happy hours spent in the old Punch 

In his " canino-classic " poem already mentioned — entitled 
"Sodalitas Punchica, sen Clubbus Xoster "— Percival Leigh 
gives some further particulars of the membership of the Club 
—lines which I translate somewhat freely, perhaps, yet with 
all the reverence due to their academic beauty : 

" The names of some of our greatest men the Poet now indites— 
Old Mark and Henry Mayhew, two of Punch's brightest lights— 
(The first beats Aristotle blue ; the second, Sophocles) : 
Then enter Douglas Jerrold's self, our greatest wit and tease— 

* Who subsequently put Hood's " Song of the Shirt " to music (published 
from the Funch office, price 2s. 6d.), as well as the " Songs for the Sentimental," 
" Fundi s own Polka" (printed in Punch September 7th, 1844). and probably 
also "The Queen's Speech, as it is to be sung by the Lord Chancellor' 
{Punch, Feb., 1S43). 


94 The History of "Punch." 

Who treats his friends like Paddy Whack, his love for them 

to prove ; 
And TuUy great, whose talent flows in just as great a groove ; 
Then Hodder, of the " Morning Herald," sheds the light he brings. 
And Albert Smith the mighty^ — and the Poet's self who sings. 
O'er these our ancient Nestor rules, who lived when lived 

Queen Anne, 
And even knew old Japhet — or 'twas so the story ran." 

H. G. Hine, who was afterwards to become the Vice- 
President of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water-Colours, 
was elected a member; but his taste la}^ neither in the direction 
of Clubs nor in the absorption of strong drink. And least 
of all did he love Bohemia. "I only dined with them once," 
he wrote to me, " and then at the ' Belle Sauvage.' The 
dinner was given by the proprietors of Punch to the Staff. 
They found the Club alread}" in existence, and desired to 
have some part in it, or, as was said at the time, to place 
their finger in its pie. I believe this to have been the only 
Dinner held at the ' Belle Sauvage.' I may mention in 
connection with the Punch Club (whose meetings, which 
were not Dinners generally, were held on Saturdays) that 
much chaff and practical joking were indulged in, and that 
was one reason for my non-attendance. On one occasion 
when Albert Smith wanted his hat and umbrella on leaving 
the Club, the attendant presented him pawn-tickets for the 
articles. He was extremely annoyed, sent the man for a 
policeman, and gave the whole Club into custody ; and they 
had. to pay the redemption price, besides looking very 
foolish. It was Horace Mayhew told me of this." It has 
been said that this was the last straw on Smith's back, and 
settled his withdrawal from Punch. But it is only fair to 
add that the indignity of which Albert Smith complained 
was thoroughly in accordance with the spirit of the practical 
joking that went on at the time, while the reason of the 
pledging was said to be the forcing of the unwilling, hyper- 
economical Smith to "stand punch round," as all the others 
did from time to time, he taking his full share of the liquor, 
though he declined to entertain in his turn. 


High Spirits. 95 

Albert Smith, indeed, diirinfr the time he was connected 
with Punch was usually the butt of the jokers, particularly 
of Douglas Jerrold, but rarely did he so completely turn 
the tables on his tormentors as on this occasion. Yet 
he was not averse to chaff, particularly when he applied it 
to others. One day, at the Club, Mark Lemon had been 
remarking that he had no peculiarities, at least not more 
than other men, and certainly none that he knew of. " For 
example," said he, " many men have some peculiarity in sha^•ing 
— some shave with the right hand, others with the left, or 
some with either indifferently." " What do you shave with ? " 
asked Albert Smith. " With my right hand," replied the 
Editor. " Then that's your peculiarity, Uncle ]\Iark," said 
Smith ; " most people shave with a razor." 

No doubt the fun was often a little rough, and that the 
members were a little ashamed of it ; for when Mark Lemon 
introduced there Mr. Catling, the editor of " Llovd's Weekly 
Newspaper," he picturesquely warned his guest to be prepared 
for " an awful set of blackguards." On the night in question, 
however, the fun was flatter, and Kennv Meadows, the 
Father of the Feast, distinctly peppery. 

On the occasion of Mr. R. J. Hamerton's visit Jerrold 
was in high feather, and, waxing eloquent on the growing 
influence of Punch, cried for silence while he proclaimed its 
ingredients. Gilbert a Beckett, he declared, was the spirit, 
and John Leech the sugar ; Albert Smith was the water ; 
himself, he confessed, was the acid ; and Mark Lemon — the 
spoon. And among other little witticisms of the Punchites 
which memory has set on record is a conversation among them 
on the subject of the payment of income-tax. With most of 
them there was in the earliest days little income and less 
tax, and strange were the stories told. At last one, whose 
name has not been preserved, quietl}' asserted that he 
honestlv filled in the declaration each vear, and honourablv 
paid the demand which was regularly served upon him. 
The company's surprise had increased to contemptuous in- 
credulitv, when their Quixotic friend proceeded : " I don't 
think I lose by it. I always take the a^-erage of three 

96 The History of "Punch" 

years, according to the regulation ; so I take the present 
year and the two future ones — and you fellozvs knoiv ivhat a 
pessimist I am !" 

It was usually at the " Whistling Oyster " that the 
meetings of the Club were held. The little house was con- 
venientlv situated, as alread}' explained, next door to the 
"Crown" — now Number 12 or 12 A Vinegar Yard. At this 
place a Mr. Pearkes had opened an oyster shop nearly twenty 
years before, and his little rooms were frequented by the 
most talented of the denizens of Bohemia — literary, theatrical, 
and artistic. One day, in the early 'Forties, the proprietor, to 
his amazement, heard one of his oysters whistling — a con- 
tinuous shrill little whistle, doubtless through a hole in its 
shell. The fact was at once noised abroad, and crowds visited 
his shop to listen to the sibilant mollusc, which not only 
whistled, but, it was said with some truth, drew the town as 
effectively as old Drur}^ herself, on the other side of the court. 

The rain of jokes that followed was ceaseless, and Punch's 
not the worst. He celebrated the bivalve in his pages by 
picture and b}' word, and his young men made the best of the 
incident. Douglas Jerrold, says Walter Thornbury, suggested 
that it was one of the sentimental kind which, having been 
crossed in love, took to whistling to keep up appearances and 
show it didn't care. Thackeray declared in all seriousness 
that he had heard an American in the shop, after listening 
to the performance, gravely assert that at home in Massa- 
chusetts thev had a much cleverer oyster, which not only 
whistled "Yankee Doodle " from beginning to end, but followed 
his master about like a dog. And it was further suggested 
that, report having exaggerated the powers of the perfonner 
into being able to whistle " God save the Queen," the pro- 
prietor had been requested to take it to Windsor Castle, 
but that the command had been summarily cancelled when 
it was ascertained that the musician was a "native/" The 
result to the fortunate proprietor was a substantial one ; his 
house became known and for many 3'ears kept up its 
reputation on the defomiity of a twopenny shell-fish. It is, 
therefore, hardly surprising that "other vermin " took to music 

The Prophecy of Hal Baylis. 97 

as well ; that about the same time a " singing mouse " made 
its appearance, duly touring in London and the provinces ; 
and that Punch made the most of the eneajrin"- little 

For some few years, then, the PuucJi Club flourished. In 
Hal Baylis it had an ideal chairman, rovstering, jovial, wittv, 
side-splitting — the only man, in the opinion of many, who 
could draw his sword and maintain his ground against Jerrold's 
cut and thrust. So good were his sayings, or so adaptable to 
Punch' s.^xw^ose, that his- position in the Club was respected, 
and he was put upon the free list, and received his weekly 
copy of the paper up to the day of his death. He was 
originally a printer, then a newspaper proprietor and editor ; 
but fate had been unkind to him, and in the days of his 
presidenc}' he had come to be -aw ad\ertisement canvasser. 
He ruled with royal dignity, but knew the limit to his 
powers ; and when Landells made his appeal to " the boys " 
at one of the dinners to " see him righted " in connection 
with his quanel with Bradbury and Evans, he comforted the 
ex-engraver as best he could, and skilfully passed to the 
" Order of the day." 

Of Baylis's judgment of character and capacitv Landells has 
left the following example : " One evening at the Punch Club 
there had been more than the usual amount of chaff going 
on between Henry Baylis and Douglas JeiTold, when the 
former suddenly said, ' If you will g\\e me a pen and ink I 
will make a prophecy that shall be fulfilled within two years. 
It shall be sealed up and given to Daddy Longlegs [mvself] 
upon his undertaking not to open it before the expiration of 
that time.' The paper was handed to me, and carefull}' put 
by. Time passed, and I had forgotten the circumstance 
altogether, when some years afterwards, looking over some 
old pocket-books, I found a sealed letter addressed to ' Daddy 
Longlegs, Esq. — to be opened two A'ears after date.' On 
breaking the seal I found the following : ' I, Henry Baylis, 
do hereby prophesy that within two years from this date 
Douglas Jerrold will write something that shall be as popular 
as anything that Charles Dickens e\er wrote.' " Within th(^se 

98 The History of "Punch." 

two years the " Caudle Lectures " had been produced and 
Bayhs's prophecy fulfilled. 

Nothing of the old Club now remains — it passed away with 
the Old Guard of Punch s }'Outhful days ; and just as Punch 
himself from a mere street-show puppet rose to reigning wit 
and arch-philosopher, so practically has his Club-house been 
lost to Drury Lane and instead lends dignity to Garrick Street, 

One other club — essentially also a Punch coterie — remains 
to be mentioned : the " Two Pins Club," A riding club in 
the first instance, it consists of not a dozen members, who 
periodically jogg off to Richmond or elsewhere to take exercise 
and lunch together in riding-breeches and good-fellowship. 
Of these the chief members have been Lord Russell of Kill- 
owen (who on his elevation to the Bench as Lord Chief 
Justice sent in his resignation, as 3'ou may see in Mr, Linley 
Sambourne's cartoon of July 14th, 1894, ^y "^^^ letters on the 
scroll Lord Russell holds : '' P,P,C.— T.P.C.'"), Mr, Burnand, Sir 
John Tenniel, Mr, Linley Sambourne, Mr. E. T. Reed, Mr. 
Harry Furniss, Sir Frank Lockwood, the Hon. Mr. Russell, 
Sir Arthur Sullivan, Mr. John Hare, Sir Edward Lawson, Mr. 
George Alexander, and Mr. C. H. Matthews. But the savour 
of Punch is over it all, and though outsiders are of it, it is as 
much a Punch club of Punch origin as the one that went 
before. It has been said that there is difference of opinion 
as to the source of its name, it being supposed that it arose 
from one of the founders declaring that ** it didn't matter two 
pins what name it bore." The simple truth is that it was 
christened after the names of two great riding worthies — at 
least one worthy, the other unworthy — of English literature : 
John Gil//;/ and Dick Tvxpin ; of the latter of whom Thomas 
Hood tells us that when the romantic malefactor was 
righteously hanged, after a spirit-swilling career, he died of 
having had " a drop too much." 




Punch's Attitude — His Whiggery — And Sincerity — Catholics and Jews — Home 
Rule— European Politics — Prince Napoleon — PniicJi's '^listakes — His Cam- 
paign against Sir James Graham — His Relations with Foreign Powers — 
And Comprehensive Survey of Affairs. 

The social and political attitude of Punch to-da^■ is a very 
different thing from what it was when the paper first claimed 
public attention and support. " When we are impecunious," 
sa3^s Mr. du Maurier, "we must needs be democratic." And 
democratic PuiicJi was in Jerrold's era, although from no 
mercenary or unworthy motive. Later on, the club and the 
drawing-room frankly recognised the power wielded b\' the 
paper, and, b}' that very acknowledgment, influenced it to 
an ob^ ious degree. Then came the sentiment of Church and 
State, and the Palmerston patriotic pose that was most to 
the taste of the threepenny public ; and for a long time 
the plucky, cheery, careless, " Civis-Romanus-Suju ," " hang- 
Reform " statesman was the special pet of Punc/i, and more 
particular!}' of Shirley Brooks. When that Editor died, Tom 
Taylor imparted a decidedly Radical, anti-Beaconsfield, anti- 
Imperial turn ; but since the regime of Mr. Burnand a 
lighter and more non-committal attitude has been adopted 
and maintained. 

Speaking generally, the prevailing Punch tradition with 
regard to matters political — at least, in the belief of its 
conductors — has been to hold the balance fairly between the 
parties, to avoid fixed and bitter partisanships, to '' hit all 
round " as occasion seemed to demand, and to award praise 
where it appeared to be deserved. If there was to be a 
general "list" or "lean," it was to be towards a moderate 
Liberalism — towards sympathy with the popular cause of 

H 2 

lOO The History of "Punch." 

freedom both of act and speech, and enthusiastic champion- 
ship of the poor and oppressed. 

If, especially within recent years, Punch has claimed one 
merit more than another, it is to as fair a neutrality as is 
possible to a strong-minded individuality with unmistakable 
political views. Conser^'atives have long since protested 
against what has been called its " hideous Gladstonolatry 
and bourgeois Liberalism," and declaimed against the occa- 
sional partisan spirit of the " Essence of Parliament." " There 
is a popular periodical," said Mr. Gladstone, in his Edinburgh 
speech of September 29th, 1893, ''which, whenever it can, 
manifests the Liberal sentiments by which it has been guided 
from the first. I mean the periodical Punch." Indeed, to 
that party has always been given the benefit of the doubt. 
But one of the chief organs of Radicalism* has complained of 
an attack on a Liberal Cabinet as "merely a pictorial insult;" 
and the professional Home Ruler has denounced with 
characteristic emphasis the representation by Punch of the 
Irish voter, bound hand and foot, terrorised and intimidated 
by his priest, who exclaims : " Stop there till you ^•ote as I 
tell you, or it's neither marry nor bury you I will ! " From 
all of which it may fairly be deduced that Punch, with 
occasional lapses of an excusable kind, has, on the whole, 
fairly upheld his character for the neutrality proper to one 
who is accepted as the National Satirist, even though — like 
the Irish judge — " he is most just when he lanes a bit on my 

" The Table " has always shown an amalgam of Conserva- 
tive and Liberal instincts and leanings, though the fonner 
have never been those of the "predominant partner." The 
constant effort of the Staff is to be fair and patriotic, and to 
subordinate their personal views to the general good. This 
is the first aim. For, whatever the public may think, neither 
Editor nor Staff is bound by any consideration to any party 
or any person, but hold themsehes free to satirise or to 
approve " all round." Disraeli the}' quizzed and caricatured 
freely ; but they al.ways admitted his fine traits and brilliant 

*• " Daily Chronicle," August 26th, 1892.'^ 

Shaping the Policy. ioi 

talents. Gladstone they more consistently glorified for his 
eloquence, high-niindedness, and skill ; but from time to time 
they would trounce him roundh' for his ^'acillations or other 
political shortcomings. 

In the earlier da}'S of Punch it was more common to 
make a dead-set at individuals — as at Lord Brougham, 
" Dizzy," Lord Aberdeen, and, during his earlier career, 
John Bright. But man}- things were done forty years ago 
which nowadays " the Table " would neither tolerate nor 
excuse — such as certain attacks upon defenceless royalty 
(more particularly upon Prince Albert) as being both unfair 
and in bad taste. The courteous highmindedness of Sir John 
Tenniel has made greatly for this mellowing and moderation, 
to the point, indeed, that many complain that Punch no 
longer hits out straight from the shoulder. This peaceable 
tendency obviously arises from neither fear nor sycophancy, 
but from an anxious desire to be entirely just and good- 
natured, and to avoid coarseness or breach of taste. 

Much of the change in Punch has simpl}^ been the 
inevitable accompaniment of change in the times — in the 
tastes, manners, ■ social polish, and sensitive feelings of the 
courteous and urbane. It is so easy to be strong in the 
sense in which an onion is strong ; but Punch has long since 
cast awa}' that kind of force. Many and many a time an 
admirable " subject " for a cartoon has been rejected — pointed, 
picturesque, or droll, as the case may be — because some one 
has raised the question, " But would that be quite fair ? " 
JeiTold was bitterly caustic and sometimes neither just nor 
merciful 'in his Quixotic tilting at upper-class windmills ; and 
Leech, in his earlier work, was often fiercely drastic. But 
there was more democratic outspokenness, more middle- 
class downrightness, and less of the Constitutional Club and 
drawing-room element in those ante-du Maurier days. But 
men and artists alter, and become moulded and modified by 
their environments, and it ma)' safely be said that there is 
to-day no effort on Punch's part to be " smart," anti-popular, 
anti-bourgeois, or anti-anything, save anti-virulent and anti- 

102 The History of "Punch." 

In no department of public affairs has Punch shown 
greater advance than in that of the public Faith. Punch 
the Religionist — I use the expression in all seriousness — while 
sturdily maintaining his own ground, and as the representative 
of " the great Protestant middle-class " swiftly denouncing 
the slightest show of sacerdotalism, has displayed an increasing 
tolerance and liberal-mindedness that were not his most not- 
able characteristics in his youthful days. High Church and 
Low, bishops and clergy, Protestant and Catholic, from the 
Pope to Mr. Spurgeon, have all at times come under his 

Mr. Punch has ever kept his eye attentively on the 
affairs of the Church. In his first volume he supported the 
agitation against the old-fashioned, high-panelled, curtained 
pew, at the same time cordialh' endorsing the Temperance 
movement of the young Irish priest, Father Mathew. The 
cause of the curate he has always upheld with a zeal 
that has betrayed him on more than one occasion into in- 
justice to the bishops ; wherein he has erred in company 
with his fellow-sage, the Sage of Coniston. And the cause 
of the poor man, up to the point of Sunday opening of 
museums and picture galleries, has always been an article 
of his religious creed, although in a pulpit reference the 
Rev. A. G. Girdlestone declared that Punch's policy was 
temporarily reversed during one editorship in consequence 
of its being found that the men on the mechanical 
staff of the paper were themselves opposed to the 

In Pu)u'Jis first decade Pope Pius IX. was popular with 
Englishmen and with Punch by reason of his liberalism. 
But towards the end of 1850 the cry of "Papal Aggression" 
broke out, and the popular excitement, already aroused over 
Puseyism, was fanned to an extraordinary pitch. The situa- 
tion at that time is described in subsequent chapters dealing 
with Richard Doyle and Cartoons ; but reference must here 
be made to the violence with which Punch caught the fever 
— how he published a cartoon (Sir John Tenniel's first) re- 
presenting Lord John Russell as David attacking Dr. Wiseman, 


the Roman Goliatli.* In due time, however, the excitement 
passed awav. Dr. Wiseman received his Cardinal's hat. Lord 
John was satisfied with having asserted the Protestant supre- 
macy, Richard Doyle left the paper, and nobody, except 
Punch, seemed a penny the worse, save that the popular sus- 
picion, once aroused, was not for several years entirely allayed. 
The " Papal Aggression " agitation smouldered on for a year 
or two in the paper ; but Punch was not too much engrossed 
to be prevented from giving his support to Mr. Horsman's 
Bill for enquiry into the revenues of the bishops of the 
Established Church, whom, in one of Leech's cartoons, he 
represented as carrying off in their aprons all the \-aluables 
on which they could lay their hands. 

Thencetbrward Punch's religious war was directed chiefly 
against Puseyism and its " toys " — by which were designated 
the cross, candlesticks, and flowers. The Pope was still with 
him an object of ridicule, and in one case at least of in- 
excusably coarse insult; but he was by this time (1861) shorn 
of his temporal power, and had become the " Prisoner of the 
Vatican;" and his ''liberalism," so much applauded in his 
ante-as:sfressive davs, was all forgotten. Nevertheless, some of 
Punch's references were hannless and innocent enough, such 
as that in which he asks, in 1861 : "Why can the Emperor 
of the French never be Pope ? " and himself replies, " Because 
it is impossible that three crowns can ever make one 

Less fierce, but much more constant, was the ridicule 
meted out to the Jews. The merry prejudice entertained by 
John Leech and Gilbert Abbott a Beckett alike against the 
Jewnsh community was to some extent shared not only by 
kindly Thackeray himself, but even by Jerrold, and was expres- 
sive no doubt of the general feeling of the da>-. ^Lirk Lemon 
certainly did nothing to temper the flood of merciless derision 
which Punch for a while poured upon the whole house of 
Israel, and some of Brooks's verses are to this da>- quoted with 

* This, with the Pharaoh pro-Jewish picture at the time of the Russian 
persecutions, is said to be the only cartoon founded on a strictly Biblical or 
Scriptural subject ever published in Punch. 

i'o4 The History of "Punch." 

keen relish in anti-Semitic circles. In his campaign against 
the sweaters in the early 'Forties a picture appeared in the 
Almanac for 1845 in which such an employer was represented 
by Leech as a Jew of aldermanic proportions, rich and bloated 
in appearance and of monstrous ostentation and vulgarity. 
Yet Punch's hatred was really only skin-deep, or, at least, 
was directed against manners rather than against men ; and 
this fctct, curiously enough, gave rise to one of those mis- 
understandings of which the paper has from time to time 
been the subject. In the spring of 1844 the " Morning 
Post" was vigorously denounced by Punch for suggesting 
such a possibility as a '' gentleman Jew," and proposed that 
the "accursed dogs" had more than their rights in being 
spoken of as "persons of the Hebrew faith." Thereupon 
a Jewish reader, considering that Punch' s expression bordered 
upon rudeness, and that the sufferance which was his tribal 
badge need not under the circumstances seal his lips, ^^TOte 
to protest against the " malice and grossness of language " — 
for he had failed to appreciate Punch's robust irony and 
too carefully veiled championship. Then, in one of those 
generous moods which often directed Jerrold's pen, Punch 
explained. (Vol. VI., 1844, p. 106.) He pointed out how 
his article had been directed against the " bygone bigotry 
and present uncharitableness " of the "Morning Post;" he 
quoted Defoe's " Short Way with Dissenters," in which the 
author satirically advocated their social rights, as an example 
of how one may be misunderstood by the men they desire 
to serve ; he reminded his readers how, when " Gulliver's 
Travels " was published, a certain bishop publicly proclaimed 
that he didn't believe a word of it ; and he asked if he 
— Punch — should complain, then, when his advocacy of 
common rights and liberties of the Hebrew is " arraigned of 
malice, prejudice, and jealous}'." But the Jewish Disabilities 
Removal Bill had not at that time been introduced. 

It was in 1847 that this measure was brought in, and 
Punch was nearly as much alarmed as he subsequently was 
at the " Papal Aggression." Punch for a time was as strong 
on the subject as the fanatical Sir Robert Inglis himself; 


But Stands Up for the Jews. 105 

and Leech's cartoon of Baron de Rothschild tryin<T to force 
his nose — the " thin end of the wedge," he called it — 
between the doors of the House of Commons was regarded 
as a ver^• felicitous and brilliant hit. But e^"en then Punch 
was willing to let the other side of the question be heard ; 
and in an ingenious adaptation of Shylock's soliloquy (p. 247, 
Vol. XIII., 1847) dedicated to Sir Robert Inglis — beginning 
" Hath not a Jew brains ? " and ending, " If we obey your 
government, shall we have no hand in it ? If we are like you 
in the rest, we ought to resemble you in that " — the whole 
case of Lord John Russell and the supporters of the measure 
was clearh- put forth. Similarly, when at the very time 
that Punch was making the most of any fun that could be 
got out of his Jewish butt, the " Strangers' Friend Society " 
appealed for funds on the ground that the urgency of their 
charitable needs would " dissolve even the hardest, the most 
magnetic astringent Jewish mind," Punch vigorously protested 
against the quaintness of that virtue and charit}' which would 
batten upon the faithful by tickling their pet prejudice against 
the Jews, and declared that "the Society's healing goodness 
would be none the worse for not spurting its gall at any 
portion of the family of men," And in more recent times 
Punch has carried his sympath}- to its furthermost point by 
the powerful cartoons published during the gi'eat persecutions 
of the Jews in Russia, by which — for representing the Tsar, 
Alexander III., as the New Pharaoh — he attained exclusion 
from the Holy Empire, and from the mouthpiece of the Jewish 
community "gratitude in unbounded measure for this great 
service in the cause of freedom and humanity." 

In like manner. Punch has displayed equal kindliness of 
feehng for the Irish, though Home Rule never offered strong 
attraction to his imagination or statesmanship. From the 
beginning he always showed a genuine sympathy for what 
he considered genuine Irish sentiment and suffering ; but 
agitation, as material for political speculation, seldom recom- 
mended itself to him. In 1844 (p. 254, Vol. VII.) a cartoon 
by Leech was published (original!}' to have been called " Two 
of a Trade"), in which the Tsar and Queen Victoria are 


io6 The History of "Punch." 

chatting at a table. On the wall behind the autocrat hangs 
a map of Poland ; near the Queen, one of Ireland ; and she, 
holding up her forefinger in gentle self-admission of error, and 
in friendly remonstrance with her august visitor, says softly, 
"Brother, brother, we're both in the wrong!" Soon after- 
wards Puncli became, it was said, " anti-Irish ; " or, as he 
himself declared, he could not confound Irish misdeeds with 
Irish wrongs ; and it was with that view that he was wont 
to picture the Irish political outrage -mongering peasant as a 
cross between a garrotter and a gorilla. Of course, in their 
rivalries Daniel O'Connell and Smith O'Brien were satirised 
as the '' Kilkenny Cats ; " but when the " Great Agitator " 
died in 1847, Punch showed how sincere was his sympathy 
with a people who, rightly or wrongly, were mourning the 
death of their leader, and who at the time were dying in 
thousands from the famine that was then black over the land. 
Nevertheless, he applauded with delight the thumping major- 
ity that negatived in Parliament the motion for Repeal of 
the Union. Then came a Coercion Bill, and continued seeth- 
ing discontent ; but the sad, sweet face of Hibernia then as 
ever claimed all the beaut}' that lay in the cartoonist's pencil. 
And a year later, when the Queen visited Ireland, and a 
Special Court of Common Council was held to consider the 
propriety of purchasing estates there. Punch showed " Gog and 
Magog helping Paddy out of the Mess," and " Sir Patrick 
Raleigh " — a handsome Irish peasant of the right sort — laying 
his mantle across a puddle, and smiling as he prays, " ]\Iay 
it please yoiu^ Majesty to tread on the tail of niy coat." 

So Punch in his Irish, as in his English, home policy 
became, and maintained the attitude of, an Old Liberal, an 
elderlv member of the Reform Club, with just enough desire 
for reform to be written down a Radical by Tories, and 
enough Conservatism and patriotism to be denounced as a 
Jingo, or its equivalent, by their opponents. But he went 
steadilv on ; and when Mr. Gladstone became converted to 
Home Rule, Punch declined to be committed to the policy. 
He maintained his independence and his Whigger}-, in spite of 
the personal feeling and friendship of the chief proprietor of 

When ''Punch" was Young. 107 

the paper for the aged statesman. Private sentiment was 
sacrificed to pubhc need, and the position of Pumh, and his 
character for pohtical stabihty, were thereby further assured. 

At the time of PiuicJis birth the Queen had sat four years 
upon the throne,' and had recently entered into liappy wedded 
life. Louis Xapoleon was living a life in London not at all 
upon the Lnperial plan ; Senorita de Montijo, the future 
Empress, was a young lady of small expectations in Spain 
— the daughter of the Comtesse de Montijo, of the Kirkpatrick 
family ; and the Emperor William, who was destined in the 
fulness of time to crush them both, was a political star of 
at most the fourth magnitude. Bismarck, Gladstone, and Dis- 
raeli were names already known to the public — ^Nlr. Disraeli, 
indeed, being of those who took part in the debate the 
result of which was to turn out Lord ^Melbourne's Govern- 
ment (August, 1 841) and send in Sir Robert Peel's, in which 
Mr. Gladstone took his place as Vice-President of the Board 
of Trade and Master of the Mint. But, like Punch, they were 
but beginning life ; Mr. Gladstone was a Tory and High 
Churchman ; Free Trade and the Corn Law Repeal were as 
questions hardly yet " acute ; " and neither Bright nor Cobden 
had entered the House of Commons. Punch, therefore, 
entered the field at an interesting moment, and began b}- 
boldl}' proclaiming his impartialit)' : — 

" POLITICS.—' Punch ' has no party prejudices— he is conser- 
vative in his opposition to Fantoccini and political puppets, 
but a progressive Whig in his love of small change'^ 

When Disraeli, equally with his rival, changed his party, 
the fact was recorded in a happy parod}' of Hood's well- 
known verses : — 

" Young Ben he was a nice young man, 
An author by his trade, 
He fell in love with Poly Tics, 

And soon an M.P. made. 
He was a Rad-ical one day, 

He met a Ton' crew, 
His Poly Tics he cast away, 
And then turned Tory too." 

io8 The History of "Punch.'' 

Soon he was leader of the httle "Young England Party," 
and was to be seen in Punch's cartoon as a viper gnawing 
at the "old file," Sir Robert Peel. Then came the triumph 
of Free Trade, duly celebrated b}' John Leech in one of 
his most light-hearted cartoons. 

The fatal year of 1848 opened with the memorable letter 
of the Prince de Joinville, at that time a young man ot 
thirty, which set half Europe looking to their national 
defences, but which pretended to be aimed onl}- at an invasion 
of England. There was, of course, a scare, not to say a 
panic, in official circles ; but Punch was one of the few who 
kept their heads, making capital galore out of the situation. 
He never tired of deriding the fiery young prince, who was 
only too glad a little later on to " invade " England in the 
character of refugee. The French army, he declared (by 
the pen of Percival Leigh), would land, after suffering all 
the tortures of sea-sickness, carefully watched by the Duke 
of Wellington from a ^lartello tower. Arrived in London, 
the invaders would arrest M. Jullien, lay siege to 85, Fleet 
Street, but raise it forthwith on the appearance of Mr. Punch 
and Tob}-, who would follow the fugitives in hot pur- 
suit. Although Punch ridiculed the matter thus, he yet 
proposed the formation of a Volunteer Coi"ps, to be called 
^^PuncJis Rifles;" and it is to be observed that he thus 
forestalled by four years the actual establishment of the 
Exeter Volunteers. Nevertheless, Punch seriously threatened 
the movement when it did come with his " Brook Green 
Volunteer ; ' ' }-et a few years later, when the idea was revived 
by the starting of Rifle Clubs, with the subsequent notion of 
transforming them into reg'iments, Punch lent his aid. He 
would chaff them, of course — for it was his business so to do — 
but he was proud of them all the same, and loudly applauded 
the spirit that inspired them. The ^"olunteers, as he told the 
French, were "the boys who minded his shop;" and more 
than one of his Staff enrolled themselves in the patriotic cause. 

Chartism, though in its programme and aspirations re- 
spected by PuncJi, was despised for its management and 
mismanagement, and was made the subject of much excellent 

Discounting Louis Napoleon. 109 

fooling. But the stormy European outlook gave him far 
more concern. In one of his cartoons all the So^'ereigns 
are shown in their cock-boats, storm-tossed in the Sea of 
Revolution, the Pope — still in the full enjoyment of his tem- 
poral power — being the only one realh- comfortable and 
reallv popular. As the Champion of Liberty the Pontiff is 
at various times portrayed as pressing '•' a draught of a 
Constitution " on the kings of Sardinia and Naples and the 
Duke of Tuscany, dealing a knock-down blow to the " des- 
potism " of Austria, and spitting her eagle on a bayonet; 
altogether justifying his reputation (for how short a time to 
last !) for stability, magnanimity, and love of progress. 

In this same year of 1848 Prince Louis Napoleon made his 
second descent upon France, and Punch, mindful of the fiasco 
of the first, prepared to give him a warm reception. His treat- 
ment from the bes^inninor of the Pretender and Prince-President 
was that of an unblushing adventurer and charlatan. In course 
of time, as the Emperor became of importance in his day, he re- 
laxed his severity to some extent, and at times at least showed 
him the respect due to an ally. On other occasions he would 
relapse into his original practice of violent and scornful attack 
— to such a point, as is seen elsewhere, as to extort the 
vigorous protests of Thackera}^ and Ruskin. " It is a tradition," 
it is said, " that when, during the entente cordiale, the Emperor 
and Empress paid a visit to Her Majesty in London, two 
cartoons were suggested at the Punch Table to celebrate the 
event. The first was heroic, representing Britannia welcoming 
the nephew of the great Napoleon to her shores ; the second, 
a 'brushed-up,' refugee-looking individual ringing at the 
front-door bell of Buckingham Palace, with the legend ' Who 
would have thought it ? ' The second was selected." 

The Prince-President as " The Brummagem Bonaparte 
out for a Ride" (the cartoon which helped to lose Thackeray 
to Punch), galloping a blind horse at a precipice, was certainly 
in the spirit of English popular feeling ; and even the 
coronation of the prince made for a time but little difference 
in Punch's demeanour. But when the Russian difficulty came 
in sight, and "the Crimean sun rose red," Napoleon III. was 

no The History of "Punchy 

treated with a certain measure of begrudged courtesy ; and 
when the war broke out, the tone was even cordial, and the 
sovereign of our alHes was actually represented as a not 
altogether undesirable acquaintance. The close of the w^ar, 
however, left matters much where they were, for the peace, 
in spite of all rejoicings, was thought to come too soon, in 
order to suit the convenience of the Emperor, Once more 
he was distrusted in his Italian campaign. The sincerity of 
his intimate letter to the Comte de Persigny, the. French 
Ambassador to England, was received with little credence, 
and John Bull replies to its tenor thus : — 

" What has been mav recur. Should a Brummagem Caesar 
Try a dash at John Bull, after conqu'ring the Gauls, 
I intend he shall find the achievement a teaser, 

What with Armstrongs, long Enfields, and stout wooden walls." 

The visit of the Empress Eugenie to the Queen at Windsor 
Castle, and the abolition of passports for Englishmen in France 
(which Punch accepted as a latch-key, "to come and go as 
he liked"), disposed the paper a little more kindly towards 
the Emperor ; but it was for the Franco-Prussian War to 
bring out the full strength and the true perspicuity of Punch's 
judgment. There was little fooling here. His warning was 
serious and solemn ; he followed every act of the great drama 
with breathless interest and with unsurpassed power of 
apprehension and pictorial demonstration ; and his sympathy 
for the misfortunes of "la grande nation," and his horror at 
the terrors of the Commune, did not pre^-ent his pity going 
forth to the broken leader who had played and lost, and who 
returned to England in a plight far sadder and more desperate 
than that in which he had lived his Bohemian life thirty 
years before. 

In considering Punch's attitude during his long career, it 
must be borne in mind that he has always aimed at repre- 
senting the sentiments of the better part of the country — 
seeing with London's eyes, and judging by London standards. 
Punch is an Englishman of intense patriotism, but primarily 
a Citizen of London, and a far truer incarnation of it — for all 

Fallibility. hi 

his chart" ol' aldermen and turtle — than the Lord Mayor and 
Chairman of the County Council put together, " But the 
aspects under which either British lion, Gallic eagle, or 
Russian bear have been regarded by our contemplative serial," 
says Ruskin, in a passage which to some extent bears out 
this contention, "are unfortunately dependent on the fact 
that all his three great designers (Tenniel, Leech, and du 
Maurier) are, in the most narrow sense, London citizens. I 
have said that every great man belongs not only to his own 
city, but to his own village. The artists of Punch have no 
village to belong to ; the street-corner is the face of the 
whole earth, and the only two quarters of the hea^•enly 
horizon are the east and west — End." Especially did Punch 
represent English feeling during the great refonns of the 
'Forties and 'Fifties. Of course he made mistakes, and many 
of them. " He who never made a mistake never made any- 
thing." He ground the No-Popery organ ; he defended the 
Ecclesiastical Titles Act ; he ridiculed the Jewish Disabilities 
Bill ; he fostered the idea of relentless vengeance on the 
Indian mutineers and rebels, and bitterly opposed Lord Can- 
ning's more humane policy;* he issued cartoons during the 
Secession War — to use the words of Mr. Henry James — 
"under an evil star;" he aimed poisoned shafts at Louis 
Phihppe ; he scofted, at first, at the Great Exhibition of 
1 85 1, and seriously retarded its progress; he failed to ap- 
preciate Lord Aberdeen's statesmanship, like the rest of his 
contemporaries, during the Crimean War ; he joked at Turner, 
and sneered at the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood ; he attacked 
Bright and Cobden for their attitude during the Chinese 

* Sec p. 108, yol. XXXIII. :— 

" And woe to the hell-hounds ! Right well may they fear 
A vengeance — ay, darker than war ever knew ; 
When Englishmen, charging, exchange the old cheer 

For, ' Remember the women axu babes whom they slew ! ' 
" And terrified India shall tell to all time. 

How Englishmen paid her for murder and lust ; 
And stained not their fame with one spot of the crime 
That brought the rich splendour of Delhi to dust." 


The History of ''Punch!'' 

War; he denounced Carlyle's "Latter-day Pamphlets" as 
mere "barkmg and froth;" he ridiculed Joseph Hume 
with a cruel persistence that called forth a passionate protest 


.. N^ 

* it' 'A 

irTT-^ Ai .1 u4hi!- f^i i^^ .'<■ 


fi"om the " Westminster Review " against the scuiTilous attack 
on one who was "too good" for it, for which Punch 
handsomely apologised on Hume's death (March loth, 1855) ; 
and generally, in his own words, ** at this early date Mr, 
Punch in his exuberance wrote much that he would now 
hesitate to commit to paper, and for which, if it did appear, 
he would certainh' be taken severely to task bv a hundred 

Onslaught on Sir James Graham. 


correspondents, of whom a majority would be of the strait- 
laced order, and the minority would be largely recruited 
from Xorth Britain." 



ill - -^^« — *■ -]i 


Dame Peel: "Drat the boy! He's always in a mess." 
(From tJie Cartoon hy Leech in '■^ Punch" Vol. VIII., />. 145. March 2qth, 1845.) 

But the politician who suffered most from Punch — and 1 \ 
perhaps the most undeservedly — was that most unpopular of 
a long line of unpopular Home Secretaries, Sir James Graham. 

I / 

114 ^^^ History of "Punch." 

Hq had joined Peel's Cabinet in 1842, on the fall of Lord 
Melbourne's Ministry, and nothing that he did could com- 
mand the approval of his critics, especially those on Punch. 
His capital offence was directing the opening of certain of 
Mazzini's letters in consequence of the statements made to 
our Government by that of Naples, to the effect that plots 
were being carried on — of which the brilliant and popular 
Italian refugee was the centre — to excite an insun"ection in 
Italy. ''The British Government," reported the House of 
Commons Committee of Inquiry afterwards appointed, " issued 
a waiTant to open and detain ]M. ]\Iazzini's letters. Such 
infoniiation deduced from these letters as appeared to the 
British Government calculated to frustrate this attempt was 
communicated to a foreign Power." 

Thereupon Mr. Buncombe, M.P., upon the complaints of 
Mazzini, W. J. Linton (the well-known Chartist, and more 
distinguished wood-engraver), and others, that their letters 
had been secretly opened, charged Sir James Graham with 
the ^^olation of correspondence (June 14th, 1844), and though 
not at first eliciting much infoniiation, succeeded in obtaining 
the appointment of a Committee, though a " secret ' ' one ; 
and Lord Radnor effected the same object in the Lords. The 
result was favourable to the Minister ; but the popular feeling 
roused by it was intense, and Punch, up in arms at once 
at this supposed violation of the rights of the subject, fanned 
the excitement he shared. He immediately published, on 
Jul}^ 6tli, the most offensive attack he could devise. This 
consisted in the famous " Anti-Graham Envelope " and 
"Wafers" — the latter extra strongly gummed. 

The former was drawn by John Leech — a sort of burlesque 
of the Mulready envelope — and was afterwards appropriately 
engraved by Mr. W, J. Linton, whose share in the agitation 
was a considerable one. The circulation attained by this 
envelope was veiy wide, and although I have not ascertained 
that many were actually passed through the General Post 
Office, it certainly brought a flood of bitter ridicule on the 
unfortunate Minister. In addition to this, there was published, 
on the clever initiation of Henr}' Mayhew, the sheet of 

The ''Anti-Graham Envelope!' 


"Anti-Graham Wafers" — an instrument of diabolical torture 
for the unhapp}' Secretar}-, who already figured as "Paul 
Pr}' " in half a hundred of the more important papers. In 
this sheet, 10 inches by /f inches in size, drawn by H. G. 
Hine, there were printed sixteen wafers, in green ink, in the 

{Designed by John Leech.) 

midst of a witty design, in brown, that bore the devices of a 
snake in the grass, a cat-o'-nine-tails, a kettle steaming the 
fastening of a letter, and other suggestive personalities. 
These were supposed to be cut up and used as wafers on 
envelopes, and that they were so used is probable, in view 
of their extreme rarity at the present da}-. They were 
issued at twopence the sheet ; and their epigi^ammatic cuts 
and accompanving legends were in PuncJis best vein. 

Punch's example was promptly followed by that class of 
publisher who li\-es bv trading on the ideas of others, and 
in the windows of manv booksellers of the commoner class, 
envelopes in the shape of padlocks were offered for sale, the 
motto on them nmning '' Xot to be Grahamed." Punch itself 
followed up the scent, and gave drawings of " ^Mercury gi^'ing 
I 2 


The History of ''Punch! 

Sir James Graham an insight into Letters" (with the aid of 
a steam-kettle), of "The Post Office Peep-Show, a Penny a 
Peep," in which foreign sovereigns, on paying their money 
to Showman Graham, are permitted to violate the secrecy of 
British correspondence ; while a notice from St. Martin's-le- 
Grand informs his Continental clients that " on and after the 
present month the following alterations will take place in 
the opening of letters : — 

Letters Posted at 

Opened at 

9 A.M. 

lO A.M. 

lO A.M. 

II A.M. 

12 A.M. 

2 P.M. 

2 P.M. 

4 P.M. 

4 P.M. 

6 P.M. 

Of course, this was all very unfair and savagely amusing, 
but much was forgiven for the cleverness of the hits, and the 
liherty-loving notions that inspired them. 

The "railway mania," which had been developing during 
these years, had from the first been viewed with alarm by 
Punch, who, with his customar}^ level-headedness, foresaw 
the crash and the reaction that were soon to follow. And 
when the}' came, in 1849, he pointed solemnly to the truth 
of his teaching, and to the sadness of the moral, with the 
picture of " King Hudson off the Line." Nothing could 
represent the situation more eloquently or more concisely. 

A noteworthy incident occun-ed in connection with the 
Greek question of 1850, when the English fleet threatened 
to blockade the Piraeus. Punch was indignant at this high- 
handed show of strength towards the little kingdom, and 
taking the mean-looking, gi-ovelling British Lion by the ear 
(in his cartoon) asks him, " Why don't you hit someone of 
your own size ? " With the exception of the occasion when 
he disrespectfully represented the noble beast as stuffed and 
moth-eaten, this is the only " big cut " wherein the Lion has 

The ''Anti-Graham Wafers!' 


been unworthily treated, or on which, in foreign poHtics, 
Punch has tailed to back up his own Government. 

Biadbuiy iaA Evus. 

PabUsbed £t Oio Fnncb office, 194. Btraotl.— Prtco Twopence 

rTrlEUIf . Wbucftltts. 

{Designed by H. G. Hine.) 

When Kossuth visited London in 185 1, Punch's heart, 
like that of the rest of England, went out to the patriot. 

ii8 The History of "Punch" 

" It was not Louis Kossuth whom the thousands gazed upon 
and cheered," wrote Punch. " It was Hungary — bound and 
bleeding, but still hopeful, resolute, defying Hungary ; " and 
it may be observed that for many years Punch sided, for 
one reason or another, with Austria's successive adversaries. 

It was in the same year that Lord Palmerston first 
appeared on Punch's scene, and then in his own selected 
role of "Judicious Bottle-holder." He was represented as 
officiating thus at the httle affair between "Xick the Bear " 
and "Young Europe." From that time forward he always 
appeared as a sporting character, and rather gained than lost 
in popular favour by the treatment. Another debut the 
following year, among the repeated appearances of " Dizzy," 
Napoleon, Pam, and Lord John, was that of John Bright. 
He is shown in Quaker costume, examining the new-bom 
baby (the new Reform Bill) through an eye-glass, while Lord 
John, its parent, stands by and hears the dry verdict that it 
is " not quite so fine a child as the last." This eye-glass 
perplexed John Bright a good deal, because, said he, he had 
" never worn such a thing in his life." He did not see that 
the glass had here, no doubt, not so much reference to him, 
as to the smallness of the birth examined by its aid. 

Protection was still a subject of debate, but not for long. 
In 1852 appeared the admirable cartoon in which Cobden — 
suddenly come very fiiuch to the fore in Punch's pages — 
is represented as Queen Eleanor, who advances on Disraeli, 
a grotesque " Fair Rosamond," with a poison-bowl of " Free 
Trade " in one hand and the dagger of " Resignation " in the 
other. Disraeli accepted the fomier, and Punch and the Free 
Traders rejoiced. But in their triumph they did not spare 
the feelings of the convert, whom they had dubbed " The 
Political Chameleon ; " but at least they admitted the im- 
portance of the man, who is no longer sneeringly alluded to 
as " Benjamin Sidonia," no more represented as an ill-bred 
schoolboy made up of impudence and malice — unprincipled, 
vicious, and conceited. 

In the following year Punch sounded his first note of 
warning of the approaching " Eastern Question," when in the 

A General Look Round. 119 

cartoon of " The Turkey in Danger," the Sick Bird Is shown 
in the powerful hug of the Russian Bear ; and " The Emperor's 
Cup for 1853" illustrates still further the prescience of Punch. 
Nevertheless, as has been said, he could not appreciate a 
suaviter policy, and in a cartoon entitled " Not a Nice Busi- 
ness " (p. 271, Vol. XXVI.) Lord Aberdeen, the Premier, is 
shown engaged in cleaning the boots of the Tsar. 

How the Crimean War was followed by Punch in a 
magnificent series of pictures, chiefly from the hand of Sir 
John Tenniel, as well as in that culminating effort of Leech's, 
** General Fe\Tier," there is no need here to explain. But 
during the peace negotiations — which were delayed through 
the Russians firing on a truce-party, called " The ]\Iassacre of 
Hango " — the representation was imjustly made by Punch 
that the King of Prussia was a confirmed toper, and the 
charge was offensively maintained by pen and pencil. This 
so angered the King that none of the English newspaper 
cortespondents (one of whom he supposed to be the original 
perpetrator of the libel) was after that allowed AN-ithin 
the precincts of the palace, until at last INIr. T. Harrington 
Wilson, one of Punch's draughtsmen, was admitted on 
behalf of the " Illustrated London Xews." 

Xo sooner was the Crimean War at an end, than the 
reprisals which developed into the Chinese War involved this 
country in an expense of four millions. In spite of the im- 
portance and gravity of the undertaking. Punch vigorously 
supported Lord Palmerston in his campaign, and mockingly 
showed *'The Great Warriors Dah-Bee and Cob-Den" vainly 
trying to overturn his Government. He made good sport 
of the Celestials, as a matter of course, but his mortification 
was extreme on learning that the incidental outlay would delay 
the hoped-for repeal of the paper duty. He found a small 
outlet for his feelings in the cartoon representing a Chinese 
mandarin as "The Xew Paper-weight" (p. 20, Vol. XXXIX.), 
but in the end was entirely conciliated by the terms of the 
Chinese Convention, and the payment of a handsome in- 
demnity—the subject of his first cartoon in 1861 being "A 
Cheer for Elgin." 

I20 The History of ''Punch:' 

Italy's successful struggle for independence received 
great attention and sympathy from Punch— t\\e greater, no 
doubt, since the "Papal Aggression" had taught him to look 
askance at the Vatican ; but he regarded with extreme and 
well-justified scepticism the genuineness of Louis Napoleon's 
alleged disinterestedness in the interests of peace. He is 
ironically shown (October 13th, i860) as "The Friend in 
Need" advising the Pope, "There, cut away quietly and 
leave me your keys. Keep up your spirits, and I'll look 
after your little temporal matters." Garibaldi and Victor 
Emmanuel were regarded by Pimch with the greatest favour 
(just as the latter was said to be regarded privately by the 
Pope), and United Italy was enthusiastically hailed by him 
(March, 1861) as "The Latest Arrival" at the European 
Evening Party conjointly presided over by John Bull and 

From first to last Punch has always been an Imperialist — 
Imperial Defence being warmly taken up at periodical intervals, 
and Imperial Federation during these latter years adopted as 
one of the planks of his Punch-and-Judy platfomi. Imperial 
Defence as a cry and a scare, begun in 1848 on the action 
of the Prince de Joinville, was continued in i860 (cartoon, 
August 4th), when a large sum was spent upon arsenals and 
dockyards — to some extent, no doubt, in view of Napoleon's 
double-dealing in the matter of Nice and Savoy. " Ribs of 
steel are our ships, Engineers are our men," he sings, under 
the new order of things in naval construction — 

" We're steady, boys, steady, 
But always unready ; 
We've just let the French get before us again." 

The Americaii,_ WaL of Secess ion j the throne of Greece 
put up to auction ; Poland in chains, defying the Russian 
Bear ; the ghost of Charles I. warning the King of Prussia, 
by the block to which he points, of the punishment that 
awaits the would-be despot ; Napoleon crushing the prostrate 
figure of France ; the wars between "father-in-law Denmark," 
Germany, and Austria, and between the latter two (as Robbers 

A Comic Mirror of the Times. 121 

in the Wood) ; Reform ; Irish Church Disestabhshment ; 
''Dizzy" as the Premier-Peri entering the gates of Paradise, 
or, bound to the Ixion's wheel of " Minority," hurled forth by 
Hercules-Bright, with the severe approval of Juno-Britannia 
and Jupiter-Gladstone ; the Franco-Prussian War ; the Ro}'al 
marriages ; the occupation of Egypt ; and the creation of the 
" Empress of India ; "^rzalLthe^ubjectzmatter^ indeed, of home . 
and foreign politics, and of general public interest, have 
been touched upon b}- Punch as the}' occurred, lightly, but 
Qlien-probed^_ /6'72(7'. . His attitude seldom caused much sur- 
prise, for his opinions and views could generally be foretold. 
It was the manner in which they were put forth that carried 
weight and influence ; they were the nation's ideas 

" . . . to advantage dressed, 
What oft was thought, but ne'er so well expressed." 

/ The student of the times, if he would know how public 
affairs struck the public mind during that period, can assuredly 
find no truer, no more accurate indication than is offered 
by the perusal of Punch' s pages./ 





Pitnch's Influence on Dress and Fashion— His Records— As a Prophet— As an 
Artist — As an Actor and Dramatist — Benefit Performances^ Guild of 
Literature and Art. 

The man who glances at Pimch's current number and throws 
it aside can have but little appreciation of the influence of 
the paper, not only in matters political, but in social subjects 
of every kind. That the Baron de Book-Womis can make or 
mar the success of a new book, as completely as the '' Times," 
"Athenaeum," or " Spectator," has been testified to by Mr. Hall 
Caine and others ; and in some quarters at least Puncli s 
baton-strokes are as effective as ever, and recall the times 
when he could, and did, drive a semi-public man into obscurity, 
which, but for the fame of his onslaught, would have been 
absolute oblivion. 

But it is in dress, in fashion, and in manners that Punch 
has gained, if anything, in weight and influence. In such 
subjects, treated as " charivarieties," as Mr. Arthur Sykes 
has called them, he has always been supreme, and fulfils an 
unquestioned destiny. John Leech detemiined that there 
should be no Bloomerism in the land, and there was none — 
only, by the charm of his drawings, he came very near 
making it popular, and converting British young womanhood 
to Turkish trousers. Mr. du Maurier thought that it would 
look pretty if every little lady in the land were to wear black 
stockings ; and every little lady did : as unfalteringly as when 
Miss Kate Greenaway imposed upon them smocks and poke- 
bonnets, or when Mrs. Hodgson Burnett clad mothers' darhngs 
in black velvet Fauntleroy suits, with bright-coloured sashes 
wound round their middles. As the volumes are examined, 
the reader becomes aware of the enduring value of Punch as a 

An Eye for Fashion. 123 

History of Costume in the Victorian Era. Even men's dress 
is noted with minute truthfuhiess — the violently variegated 
shirts of 1845 ; the Joinville ties, with their great fringed ends, 
out of which Thackeray made such capital in 1847 ; the pin- 
less cravats and cutaway coats of 1848 ; the ivory -handled canes 
of 1850, for sucking purposes — the fashion which came round 
thirty years later with the advance of the "crutch and 
toothpick brigade;" the big bows and short sticks of 1852 ; 
the frockcoats and weeping whiskers of 1853, with the 
corresponding inability to pronounce the "r" otherwise than 
as a '' w," or to converse but with a languid, used-up 
drawl ; the smaller ties and growing collars, when a wasting 
youth complains that " She is lost to him for ever " [she, the 
laundress !) ; the schoolboy's Spanish hat of i860, that was 
soon developed into the " pork-pie," and was to be adopted 
generally for country wear with baggy knickerbockers ; the 
full-blown Dundreary of 1861, with long weeping whiskers, 
long coat, long drawl, and short wits ; with the sudden 
change for the better in the following year. All this is to be 
found clearly recorded year by year, season by season, with 
all the peculiarities of '' form ; " of umbrella and umbrella- 
carrying ; of dancing, energetic and invertebrate ; of hand- 
shaking, sensible and high-level (which was invented, of 
course, by the ballroom girl who was holding up her train 
in the dance) ; of hirsute adornment and ^esthetic craze — 
every shade of fashion is followed in its true development 
and in its wane — down to the recent phase of 1893 and 1894, 
when the swell lets out his collar for an advertisement 
hoarding, or, safe in the, perfection of its starching, marches 
quietly across the desert while fierce Orientals turn the edges 
of their swords in vain across his linen-shielded neck. 

And the ladies ! The coal-scuttle bonnet and the incipient 
crinoline of 1845 ; the growing crinolines of 1851, larger in 
i860, largest of all in 1864 ; the hair in bands or side-curls of 
1852, and in nets in 1862 ; the bonnets worn almost off the 
head in 1853, more so in 1854, until Leech drew a picture of 
two ladies walking out, with footmen carrying their head-gear 
behind them; the "spoon-shaped bonnet" of i860 — "the 

124 The History of "Punch." 

latest Parisian folly," which the street-boys mistake for "a 
dustman's 'at ; " the archery of 1862, the pork-pie hat, the 
croquet, the tennis, the golf— every sport, every habit and 
custom, every change of dress, down to the minutest detail — 
all is recorded with faithfulness and humour, first by Leech's 
pencil, and then, in chief measure, by Mr. du Manner's. 

It is curious in turning over PimcJis volumes to see how 
on occasion he could use his power of prophecy with an 
accuracy that spoke well for the common-sense, sometimes 
even the statesmanship, to be found among the Staff. "There 
is but one Punch, and he is his own prophet." It is rather 
as a social reformer than as a politician that he has exerted 
his gift, though an example of the latter class of foresight 
may be pointed to in the cartoon of Sir John Tenniel of 
April 7th, i860. This was entitled " A Glimpse of the Future : 
A Probable and Large Importation of Foreign Rags," in which 
King Bomba of Naples, the Emperor Louis Napoleon, and 
the Pope were shown landing on British shores in very sorry 
plight. And in due time England was to see — at least, as far 
as the two monarchs were concerned — the realisation of the 
oracular couplet combined : — 

" The time will come when discontent 
Will overthrow your Government." 

Then the number of inventions and innovations forestalled by 
Punch's pen are many. In December, 1848, much is made 
of a proposed "opera telakouphanon " — a forecast of the 
telephone, phonograph, and theatrophone combined : — 

" It would be in the power of Mr. Lumley," says PuncJi, 
" during the aproaching holiday time to bring home the Opera 
to every lady's drawing-room in London. Let him cause to be 
constructed at the back of Her Majesty's Theatre an apparatus 
on the principle of the Ear of Dionysius. . . Next, having 
obtained an Act of Parliament for the purpose, let him lay down 
after the manner of pipes a number of Telakouphona connected 
— the reader will excuse the apparent vulgarism — with this ear, 
and extended to the dwellings of all such as may be willing to 

"Punch" as a Prophet. 125 

pay for the accommodation. In this way our domestic estabUsh- 
ments might be served with the Hquid notes of Jenxy Lind as 
easily as they are with soft water, and could be supplied with 
music as readily as they can with gas. Then at a soiree or 
evening party, if a desire were expressed for a little music, we 
should only have to turn on the Sonnambiila or the Puritani^ 
as the case might be," etc. 

■ — a thirty j^ears' prophecy. The following year he repre- 
sented a lady listening to music b}" telegraph ; and the 
kinetoscope is only now waiting to fulfil Mr. du Maurier's 
forecast of many years ago. If Mr, Edison has not yet 
done quite all that Mr. Punch foretold, is not that rather 
Mr. Edison's than Punch's fault ? 

In an unhappy moment in 1847 Punch proposed the use 
of umbrellas and house -fronts for advertising purposes, and the 
hint was promptly taken. In the previous year he foretold 
the use of the Thames Tunnel as a railwa}^ conduit ; and his 
sketch of a zebra harnessed to a carriage in the streets of 
London was realised forty years later. The great " Missing 
Word Competition" of 1892 was forestalled by Punch by 
four-and-thirty years (p. 53, Vol. XXXV., August 7th, 1858). 
Leech's " Mistress of the Hounds," too — how fantastic the idea 
was thought in those days, and laughed at accordingly ! — has 
since become a hard, astraddle, uncompromising fact ; and the 
lady's safet}^ riding-skirt, that attached itself to the saddle when 
the lady lost her seat, anticipated by thirty years the patent 
for a similar contrivance taken out in 1884. Indeed, Punch's 
picture of November, 1854, was put in as evidence before Mr. 
Justice Wright in April, 1893, when an action between two 
sartorial artists turned upon the point of anteriority, and the 
picture won the case. 

Common-sense, and shrewdness of observation and judg- 
ment, which are at the root of amateur prophecy, brought as 
much honour to Punch as ever Old Moore obtained through 
one of his lucky flukes. In December, 1893, the Prince of 
Wales opened the Hugh iVIyddleton Board School, the finest 
in London, which had been erected on the site of the 
old Clerkenwell prison ; and on the invitation card to the 

126 The History of "Punch." 

-ceremoii}' appeared a reproduction of the Punch picture of 
May, 1847, which accompanied an altercation between ''School 
and Prison, who've lately risen As opposition teachers." 
This was published nearly a quarter of a century before Mr. 
Forster's Education Act, and concludes with the prophecy 
curiously fulfilled in the case of this particular institution. 
To this picture, in which the county gaol, untenanted, looks 
scowlingly at the crowded school, the Prince feelingly referred 
when he spoke of the scepticism with which the statement was 
regarded, that the institution of " free " schools would shut the 
prisons up. But a volume might be filled with instances of the 
occasions on which Punch has seen with his eyes, and thought 
with the front of his brain — how his demands for necessar}'- 
innovations (such, for example, as fever carriages in 1861) were 
quickly acted upon, and how his serious mood has enforced the 
respect which mere genialit}' might have failed to secure. 

He is not, of course, entitled to invariable congratulation for 
his attitude towards art ; but he has suffered as well as acted 
ill. When he derided the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, and 
joined in the storm of ridicule that swirled round the heads 
of Rossetti and his devoted and courageous friends, he doubt- 
less acted within his role ; but he utterly failed to see below 
the surface of the apparent affectation of the artists, and 
all he had to say of Sir John Millais' " Vale of Rest," in the 
lines descriptive of the year 1859, was 

** Year Mr. Millais came out with those terrible nuns in the grave- 

In the following year, however, ]\Ir. Eastlake, afterwards of 
the National Gallery, made his mark in the paper as "Jack 
Easel," and a more intelligent view of art prevailed. 

But neither has Art, as personified by the Royal Academy, 
recognised Punch, save by a couple of seats at the annual 
banquet. It is true that several of its members have drawn for 
it — Sir Frederic Leighton, Sir John Millais, Sir John Gilbert, 
Mr. Briton Ri\iere, Mr. Stacey Marks, Mr. G. A. Storey, and 
Fred Walker. But Punch's art has gone unnoticed, other- 
wise than by a square yard or two of wall space in the 

Staff Artists and the Royal Academy. 127 

Black-and-White room at the annual exhibition. While the 
Academy has canonised many members whose names half a 
century later are forgotten, or are remembered only to be 

^J ^iJ-^ 

THE draughtsman's REVENGE. 
{Draivn by George die Maurier.) 

called up with a smile or a shrug, it has persistently ignored 
those who have employed the pencil instead of the brush, or 
have used ink instead of misusing paint. But it is unneces- 
sary to pursue the subject farther ; that the names of Keene, 
Leech, and Tenniel are not on the roll of the Academy is 
surely far more to the discredit of the institution than of the 

128 The History of ''Punchy 

artists themselves, who presumably, from the Academic point 
of ^^ew, are " no artists." As Mr. du Maurier has pointed out, 
PuncJis artists will have their revenge : " If the illustrator con- 
fine himself to his own particular branch, he must not hope for 
any very high place in the hierarchy of art. The great prizes 
are not for him ! No doubt it will be all the same a hundred 
years hence — but for this : if he has done his work well, he has 
faithfully represented the life of his time, he has perpetuated 
what he has seen with his own bodily eyes ; and for that reason 
alone his unpretending little sketches may, perhaps, have more 
interest for those who come across them in another hundred 
years than many an ambitious historical or classical canvas that 
has cost its painter infinite labour, imagination, and research, and 
won for him in his own time the highest rewards in money, fame, 
and Academical distinction. For genius alone can keep such 
fancy-work as this alive, and the so-called genius of to-day may 
be the scapegoat of to-morrow." 

Pimch was born, so to speak, upon the stage, between the 
four canvas walls of his own and Judy's show. His heart and 
soul were with and of the drama, and plays have rained from 
the prolific pens of his literary Staff. Man)' of his contributors 
acted in public — a few professionally, most of them as amateurs 
— and more than one has linked his life with a lad}' who had 
trodden the stage or concert platform. From the first he 
proclaimed that Music and the Drama were to be amongst the 
most prominent features of the work ; and to that declaration 
he has ever since faithfully adhered. As a record of the 
London stage, the pages of Punch are fairly complete ; as a 
dramatist he has, through the members of his Staff, been 
prolific, and on the whole highly successful ; as an actor he 
has at least enjoyed himself; and just as Falstaff was the 
cause of wit in others, he has unwittingly served the pirates 
of the stage, and to better puipose, too, than they deserved. 

With " readings," lectures, and "entertainments," the members 
of Punch's Staff have often come strikingly before the public ; so 
much so, indeed, that they have stepped from their studies and 
studios on to the platform as by a natural transition. Albert 
Smith's "Overland Mail" and "The Ascent of Mont Blanc," 

Perifatetic Philosophers. 129 

with the extraordinary success that attended them, doubtless set 
the fashion to the band of men who were always, in one sense 
at least, before the public. Thackeray's ''Four Georges" and 
the " English Humorists " raised the standard of quality at once ; 
and to that standard more than one of his contemporaries and 
successors has aimed at attaining, even though the)' never hoped 
to succeed. Every Editor of Punch — except perhaps Stirling 
Coyne — deli^'ered such lectures in his da}-. Henry Mayhew 
took for his subject that of which he had a complete mastery, 
" London Labour and London Poor." Mark Lemon, whose 
knowledge of the metropolis was probably even more extensive 
and peculiar than Sam Weller's own, lectured on it in " About 
London," and gave recitals of "Falstaff" with a certain 
measure of success. Shirley Brooks spoke, as he was so well 
qualified to do, on " The Houses of Parliament ;" and discourses 
were similarly delivered by Tom Taylor. ]\L'. Burnand's bright 
" Happy Thoughts " readings could be forgotten by none that 
heard them. James Hannay, laying humour aside, lectured on 
the more serious aspects of literature ; and Cuthbert Bede talked 
of the literary and artistic friends of his Verdant Green career. 
Mr. Harry Fumiss, wim his delighifui entertainments on 
"Portraiture" and "The Humours of Parliament," achieved a 
success undreamed of by the earlier Punch reciters ; and Mr. du 
Maurier in his " Social Pictorial Satire " touched a literary 
and critical height that charmed every audience by its humour, 
its delicacv, and its admirable taste. 

The theatrical stars of half a century march through Punch's 
pages in long procession, and matters of high theatrical politics 
enrao-e the attention from year to year. Punch's interest in 
theatricals is hardly surprising when it is remembered how 
closely identified' with the drama have been man}' members of 
the Staff. Douglas Jerrold was a successful playwright before 
ever Punch was heard of, and as the author of " Black-Eyed 
Susan " and "Time Works Wonders" he made his name popular 
with many who had hardly heard of his connection with " the 
great comic." It has been computed that the Punch writers, 
from first to last, have contributed no fewer than five hundred 
plays to the stage ; and it may be mentioned as a curious 

130 The History of ''Punch.'" 

fact that to "German Reed's" each successive Editor oi Punch 
has contributed an " Entertainment." The Staff has on several 
occasions been seen upon the boards ; and on countless occa- 
sions Punch has figured there, usually against his will. It but 
sufficed for Punch to make a hit for hungry provincial actors, 
either of stock companies or on tour, to pounce upon it and 
work it up into a play or an entertainment. JeiTold's brother- 
in-law, W, J. Hammond, who was at one time manager of the 
Strand Theatre, travelled with what must be considered the 
authorised show, thus described : 

" A new Entertainment, called a 


Founded on the Series of Celebrated Papers of that highly 
humorous Periodical, from the pens of the acknowledged best Comic 
Writers of the day. Adapted and Arranged by R. B. Peake, Esq. 
As performed b}- Mr. W. J. Hammond Forty-two successive nights 

at the New Strand Theatre After which, a Monopolylogue 

entitled the 




— with five characters, all performed by Hammond, the whole 
reaching its climax when Punch, in propria persona, appeared 
and sang an " Epilogue Song." 

But it was j\Irs. Caudle, of course, that offered a bait too 
tempting to be resisted. There was Mrs. Keeley's authorised 
"Mrs. Caudle" in town; but simultaneously Mrs. Caudles 
cropped up in every town in the country. One of these was 
enacted by Mr. WaiTen, and his playbill of the Theatre Royal, 
Gravesend, dated August 7th, 1845, is before me as I write. 
" The Real Mrs. Caudle," he asserts, " having received an 
enthusiastic welcome from a Gravesend audience, and being pro- 
nounced far superior to any of the counterfeit Representatives, 
will have the honour of repeating her Curtain Lecture this 
and to-morrow evenings." " Mrs. Caudle at Gravesend " was, in 
fact, a " Comic Sketch " by C. Z. Barnett ; and the programme, 

Mr. Briggs on the Stage. 131 

decorated with a common engraving in impudent imitation of 
Leech's immortal cut, contained all the dramatis pcrsonm of 
Jerrold's little domestic drama, including " Mrs. Caudle (the 
Original from Punch's Papers), Mr. Warren." 

Six }-ears later JMr. Briggs himself was lifted from Punch 
on to the stage (amongst others) of the Royal Marylebone 
Theatre, which then assiduously cultivated the equestrian 
drama. On November 14th, 1851, for the benefit of a lady 
called Mrs. MORETOx\ BROOKES, there was played a 
" new grand dramatic equestrian spectacle, entitled the Maid 
OF Saragossa ; OR, The Dumb Spy and Steed of Arra- 
GON— reahsing Sir David Wilkie's Celebrated Picture." As 
the Arragon Steed remained on the premises when the cur- 
tain fell on the first piece, it was obviously a pity to waste 
him ; so, after he had finished realising Wilkie's picture, 
and had rested awhile, he stepped out of romance into high 
comedy, or, as the pla3'bill simply put it — ''After which will 
be presented from Sketches furnished from Punch's Domicile, 
Fleet Street, a New, Grand, Locomotive, Pedestrian, Eques- 
trian, Go-ahead Extravaganza, entitled 


Or, House Keeping versus Horse Keeping " — 

in which Mr. Briggs was played by Mr. Crowther, and Mrs. 
Briggs by the fair beneficiaire. 

The first dramatic effort of Punch, in his individual qualit}' 
and personality as a jester, was the pantomime of " King John, or 
Harlequin and Magna Charta." Punch had at that time become 
so popular, and was so generally regarded as the incarnation 
of all that was witt}'^, that a commission was given for a panto- 
mime that was to surpass for wit and humour any pantomime 
that had ever been written or thought of before. " They have 
given out," said Alfred Bunn in his vituperative "Word with 
Punch," " in distinct terms that none but themselves can write 
a pantomime, and modestly entitled the one they did write 
' Pimch's Pantomime ' . . . which they laboured so lustily, but 
so vainly, to puff into notoriety." It was written in 1842, by 
Lemon, Jerrold, and Henr}'^ Mayhew ; but when it was read by 
J 2 

132. The History of '' PuxchT 

the first-named to the Covent Garden Compan}-, by whom it 
was produced, it was found to contain a great deal of wit, 
but ver}' Httle fun. It was extensively amended in response 
to the representations of the pantomimists, and W. H. Payne 
managed to make a good deal of his part. The wit, how- 
ever, militated greatly against the "go" and success of the 
piece, the prestige of its writers did not help it, and the 
experiment of a " Punch's Pantomime " was accordingly not 

The cordial svmpathy that has bound together so many 
of Punch's Staff in life has more than once taken the form 
of kindly charity in death or misfortune. To the perfomiance 
given on behalf of the unhappy Angus Reach reference is made 
where the man and his work are considered. For Leigh Hunt 
— although he was not of the band — a theatrical performance 
was also given, and realised a large sum, and the benefit in 
aid of Charles H. Bennett's widow and children was even 
more successful. That interesting event is described later ; 
but for the sake of history it may be well to reproduce the 
programme here : — 



(kindly placed at the disposal of the committee by John Knovvles, Esq.,) 

To commence with an entirely new and original Triumviretta, in one act and 
ten tableaux (being a lyrical version of Mr. Maddison Morton's celebrated 
farce of "Box and Cox"), by Mr. F. C. Burnand, entitled— 

Or, the long-lost BROTHERS. 

The Lodging, including the Little Second-floor Back Room, has been 

furnished with 


John Cox, a Journeyman Hatter Mr. Ouintin. 

James Box, a Journeyman Printer ... ... ... Mr. G. du Maurier. 

Boiincer, late of the Dampshire Yeomanry, with military 

reminiscences ... ... ... ... ... ... Mr. Arthur Blunt. 

Scene — An elegantly furnished apartment in Bouncer's ^Mansion. 

134 The History of "■Punch" 

Tableaux— I. Cox at his looking-glass. — 2. Cox and Bouncer, the trial of the 
hat. — 3. The beauties of bacon. — 4. Revenons a nos moutons. — 5. The stranger \ 
—6. The duel ! 1—7. The gamblers. The hazard. The false die.— 8. "Read- 
ing of the will." — 9. (A classical study.) Penelope. — 10. Knox! et prasterea nil. 

Mr. SHIRLEY BROOKS will deliver an ADDRESS. 
After which will be performed Mr. Tom Taylor's popular Drama, 


Mr. Mark Lemon. 
... Mr. John Tenniel. 
... Mr. Tom Taylor. 
Mr. F. C. Burnand. 
TMr. Horace Mayhew. 
...J Mr. Henry Silver. 

(^Mr. R. T. Pritchett. 
... Mr. Shirley Brooks. 


Colonel Perc)' Kirke, of Kirke's Lambs 

Colonel Lord Churchill, of the Life Guards 

Master Jasper Carew ... 

Kester Chedzoy ... 

Corporal Flintoft j 

Hackett ^ of Kirke's Lambs 

Rasper ) 

John Zoyland, a Locksmith ... 

Dame Carew, Wife of Jasper Carew (by the kind ) ,^- ^- rp 

permission 01 B. Webster, Esq.) ' 

Dame Carew, Mother of Jasper Carew 
Sibyl,, Daughter of Jasper Carew 

Keziah Mapletoft, Servant to Anne ... 

Mrs. Stoker. 
Miss Florence Terry. / 
Miss Ellen Terry (Mrs. 

To be followed by J. Offenbach's Bouffonnerie Musicale, 


Stanislas Giraftier ... ... ... ... ... ... Mons. G. du Maurier. 

Giacomo Patachon ... ... ... ... ... ... Mons. Hal. Power. 

To conclude with Mr. John Oxenford's Farce, in one Act, 

Characters by Messrs. Arthur Blunt, Mark Lemon, Tom Taylor, Henry 

Silver, and Miss Ellen Terry. 

Tickets for the Dress Circle and Stalls, One Guinea each, may be obtained 
from any Member of the Committee ; at the Theatre Royal ; from Messrs. 
Hime and Addison, and Mr. Slater, St. Ann's Square ; and Messrs. Forsyth, 
St. Ann's Street. 

On this occasion, says an anon3'mous writer, " The cele- 
brated cartoonist received the reception of the evening. The 
audience rose cu 7}iasse and cheered. Tom Taylor, playing 
in his own piece the principal character, was, comparatively 
speaking, nowhere. The most interesting personality of the 
Punch Staff was unquestionably Tenniel." 

Affiliated with Punch, in its membership at least, was that 
" Guild of Literature and Art " of which Charles Dickens was 

Lemon and Leech as Actors. 135 

the father. Its theatrical career began in 1845 at the Royalty 
Theatre, Soho, at that time called Miss Kelly's, the initial per- 
formance being Ben Jonson's " Every Man in his Humour," witli 
Mark Lemon as Brainworm and Dickens as Bobadil. {Sec p. 
137.) On May 15th, 1848, much the same company, in aid of 
the fund for the endowment of the perpetual curatorship of 
Shakespeare's house at Stratford-on-Avon, gave the " Merry 
Wives of Windsor," when Dickens played Shallow ; George 
Cruikshank, Pistol ; John Leech, Slender ; Mark Lemon, Fal- 
staff; and other characters were represented by George Henry 
Lewes, John Forster, Dudley Costello, Augustus Egg, R.A., 
and Mr. Cowden Clarke — a goodly company. Mr. Sala says 
that Lemon's conception of Falstaff (which was also known 
to the public through the jovial editor's "readings"), though 
well understood, was " the worst he ever saw ; " but Mrs. 
Cowden Clarke declared it "a fine embodiment of rich, 
unctuous raciness, no caricature, rolling greasiness and gross- 
ness, no exaggerated vulgarisation of Shakespeare's immortal 
' fat knight,' but a florid, rotund, self-indulgent voluptuary — 
thoroughly at his ease, thorough!}- prepared to take advantage 
of all gratification that might come in his wa}', and thoroughly 
preserving the manners of a gentleman accustomed to the 
companionship of a prince. John Leech's Master Slender," 
she continues, " was picturesquely true to the gawky, flabby, 
booty squire. . . His mode of sitting on a stile, with his 
long ungainly legs dangling down . . . ever and anon 
ejaculating his maudlin cuckoo cr}' of ' Oh sweet Ann Page,' 
was a delectable treat." Without disrespect to Leech's memory, 
it may be said that others of his friends did not form a similarly 
favourable opinion of his histrionic powers. 

A company quite as notable in its way was that which 
played " Not so Bad as We Seem," b\- Lytton (with whom 
Punch had made his peace), at Devonshire House, on May 
27th, 185 1, before the Queen and the Prince Consort, at the 
instance of the Duke of Devonshire. The playbill deserves to 
be preserved here, although the only Punch names among the 
actors are those of Jerrold, Lemon, and Tenniel— the last- 
named of whom is the onlv survivor of them all. 


Mr. John Forster 
Mr. Mark Lemon 
Mr. F. W. Topham 

136 The History of "Puxch:' 

The nuke of Middlesex ( Peers attached to the son | m^. Frank Stone. A.R. A. 

. A young man at the head \ 

Lord Wilmot ' °^ '^^ "'°'^^ "'°'^. '^^'' 5 Mr. Charles Dickens 

j^ora \v iimoi . century ago, son to Lord T 

( Loftus ) 

1 A young gentleman from the i 
Mr Shadowly Softhead < Citv, friend and double > Mr. Douglas Jerrold 

I of Lord Wilmot \ 

I A rising Member of Parlia- 
Mr. Hardman \ ment and adherent to Sir 

( Robert Walpole 

if A gentleman of good family ) 
Sir Geoffrey Thornside ^ -^^ ^^^^^g 

( In business, highly respect- 
Mr. Goodenough Easy v able, and a friend of Sir 

( Geoffrey 

Lord Le Trimmer ) Frenuenters of Wills' Coffee i ^^''- ^^^^'' Cunningham 

Sir Thomas Timid h^h^.p ^^^- ^estland Marston 

Colonel Flint ) """"^^ ( Mr. R. H. Home 

Mr. Jacob Tonson A Bookseller Mr. Charles Knight 

Smart Valet to Lord Wilmot Mr. Wilkie Collins 

Paddy O'Sullivan Mr. Fallen's landlord Mr. Robert Bell 

T^ -J T- 11 (Grub Street author and / Mr. Augustus Egg, 

Mr. David Fallen ( pamphleteer ) A.R.A. 

Lord Strongbow, Sir John Bruin, Drawers, 1 ^^^^^ ^^^^^ Loungers 

Newsmen, Watchmen, &c. &c. ) 


Barbara Daughter to Mr. Easy. Miss Ellen Chaplin 

The Silent Lady of Deadman's Lane. 

Date of Play— The Reign of George I. 

Scene— London. 

Time supposed to be occupied, from the noon of the first day to the afternoon 

of the second. 

And, lastly, may be mentioned the performance of Ben 
Jonson's play at Knebworth, in which, says Vizetelh', Douglas 
Jerrold, as Master Stephen, showed real talent and power. 
But the piece is not an entertaining one, as Lord IVIelbourne 
— with his bad habit of thinking aloud — bore disconcerting 
witness in his stall : " I knew well enough that the play 
would be dull, but not so damnably dull as this ! " 

An Historical Playbill. 








^oatnmiEn, Scsln HATHAIT, of Titdibotmie Street 

PeiroqniBT. Mi. WILS03. of tieStmal 


("on OU Gcnlkman) 


Edward Knowell, 




(the Father's Man) 


George Downright. 

(a Plain S^uireJ 



{his Half-brother) 



(a Merchant J 


Captain Bobadil, 

(a Pauls Man) 


Master Stephen, 

(a Country Oil!) 


Master Matthew, 

(the Town GullJ 


Thomas Cajh. 

(Ktlely'i: Cashier J 


OUvcr Cobb, 

(a Water-beartr) 


Justice Clement, 

(an old merry Ma^trate) 


Roger Formal, 

(his Clerk j 


Dame Kitcly, 

(Kitelys Wife) 


Mistress Bridget, 

(his Sister) 



(Ccb^B Wife) 


(Who iaa sioct '^llECy cc:i»a3ted to act, la Im of Hn fiH^TlT.F.'^ DICSTSS, diablod by ea toddeatj 



To conclude with Mes. iKceeALD'a Farce of 


The Doctor 




The Marqois de Lane; 







Miss .iNNE ROMER. 

Stage MinACEa, 


T%t Theatre tnS be opai at Balp-fast Six. 

J7:« Ptrfarmancj wiU lijlr, precisely at HALr-riST SrrKi. 

000 BAV£ 





punch's jokes — THEIR ORIGIN, PEDIGREE, AND 


"The Unknown Man" — Jokes from Scotland — "Bang went Saxpence" — 
"Advice to Persons about to Marry" — -Claimants and True Authorship 
— Origin of some of Punch's Jokes and Pictures — Contributors of Witty 
Things — A Grim Coincidence — "I Used Your Soap Two Years Ago" — 
Charles Keene Offended — The Serjeant-at-Arms and Mr. Furniss's Beetle 
— Mr. Birket Foster and Mr. Andrew Tuer — Plagiarism and Repetition 
— The Seamy Side of Joke-editing — Punch Invokes the Law — Rape of Mrs. 
Caudle — Sturm mid Drang — Plagiarism or Coincidence ? — Anticipations of 
the "Puppet-Show" and "The Arrow" — Of Joe Miller — And Others 
— Piinch-ha.\ting — Impossibility of Joke-identihcation — Repetitions and 

It may fairh* be said that not three per cent. — probably not 
one per cent. — of the jokes sent in to Punch " from outside " 
are worthy either of pubhcation as they stand, or even of being 
considered raw material for manipulation by the editor or his 
artists. In this low estimate, of course, are not included the 
work of the few regular contributors who are recognised, though 
"unattached," as well as of the others who make a practice 
of sending every good new joke they hear to such a friend as 
they may happen to have on the Staff. These two classes are 
not numerous ; but they are, and have for years formed, a little 
body of bright-witted, laughter-loving persons, to whom Punch 
and Punch readers are under an equal debt of gratitude. 

In the United States the providing of jokes for illustration in 
the comic press is to some extent a recognised, if a limited and 
illiberal, profession, he who follows it being commonlv described 
as the " Unknown Man." Endowed with natural wit and 
invention, but denied the gift of draughtsmanship, this " dumb 
orator " is supposed to turn out jokes as other men would turn 
out chair-legs, and sends them in priced, like gloves, at so much 
a dozen, "on approval — for sale or return," with a suggested 
misc en scene complete, which the illustrator is recommended 

Scots W/t. 139 

to adopt. How far the system answers its purpose I am 
unable to judge ; but if the experience of ]\Ir. Phil ]\Iay 
may be taken as an example, there is e"\-ery reason why the 
]Man should remain Unknown. For, at the suggestion of a 
fellow-artist, he ordered five dollars-worth of original jokes, the 
price being quoted at a dollar per joke. His order was executed 
with punctuality and despatch, when ]\Ir. ]Ma}- found, to his 
amusement and dismay, that three of the jokes were former 
Punch friends, and the remaining two were old ones of his 
own invention ! 

In the United Kingdom the joke-contributor is as a rule a 
disinterested person, usually seeking neither pay nor recognition ; 
and so far as his estimate bears upon the value of his contribu- 
tion, it must be admitted that his judgment is generallv sound. 
But of the accepted jokes from unattached contributors, it is a 
notable fact that at least sevent}'-five per cent, come from Xorth 
of the Tweed. Dr. Johnson, ponderous enough in his own 
humour, admitted that " much may be made of a Scotchman 
if he be caught young ; " and it is probable that to him, as well as 
to Walpole — who suggested that proverbial surgical operation — 
is owing much of the false impression entertained in England as 
to Scottish appreciation of humour and of "wut." Some may 
retort that it is just the preponderance of Scotch collaboration 
that has rendered Punch at times a trifle dull. Certain it is 
that Punch is keenlv appreciated in the Xorth. In one of 
the public libraries of Glasgow it has been ascertained that it 
was second favourite of all the papers there examined by the 
public ; and it has been asserted that in one portion of the 
moors and waters sfillies ha^"e more than once been heard 
to sav, " Eh, but that's a guid ane ! Send that to Charhe 
Keene ! " 

Nevertheless, it must be admitted that Punch's dialect has 
not always pleased up there, where " the execrable attempts 
at broad Scotch which appear weekly in our old friend Pioich " 
have before now been authoritatively denounced. Under the 
heading of " Probable Deduction " Punch had the following 
paragraph : — " A pertinacious Salvation Army captain was 
worrving a Scotch farmer, whom he met in the train, with 

140 The History of '' Puxch." 

perpetual inquiries as to whether ' he had been born again of 
Water and the Spirit.' At last ]\IcSandy replied, ' Aweel, I 
dinna reetly ken how that ma}' be, but my good old feyther 
and mither took their toddy releegiously every nicht, the 
noo." Referring to this stor}- — first cousin surely to Lover's 
joke in " Handy Andy " of the Irish witness who, when pressed 
as to his mother's religion, promptly replied, " She tuk 
whuskey in her tay ! " — the critic remarks, " It is pretty 
wit ; for Punch. But McSandy ought to speak in the Scottish 
tongue. Xow, if ' night ' is * nicht,' why is ' right ' ' reet ' — 
either 'the noo' or at any other time? Hoots awa." Yet 
Punch has usually taken great pains to verify his dialects, and 
Charles Keene — to whom the legends usually came from his 
friends read^'-made and carefulh' elaborated — would, as a rule, 
seek to have them confirmed by one or other of his Scottish 
friends in town. 

Perhaps the greatest ser^-ice that any Scot ever rendered to 
Punch (apart from drawing for it) was the "puir bodie" who 
explained that he found Lunnon so awfu' extravagant that he 
hadna been in it more than a few hours " n^hcn bang zve7it 
saxpence ! " The reader will be interested to learn that this 
expression — which may truthfully be said to have passed into 
the language — did really issue from the lips of a visitor from 
the neighbourhood of Glasgow. It was Sir John Gilbert who 
heard it, and repeated it to JMr. Birket Foster while they were 
seated resting from their labours of " hanging " in the galleries 
of the Royal Water Colour Society. On the private-view day 
that followed, Mr. Foster tried the effect of the joke on two 
ladies whom he accompanied into Bond Street to take tea ; 
and as they exploded with laughter, he concluded that it was 
good efiough for his friend Keene, to whom he thereupon sent 
it. The immediate success of the joke was amazing ; and 
Mr. Foster was therefore the more surprised and amused a 
year afterwards to overhear a young " masher " calmly inform 
a barmaid serving on the Brighton pier that he was the 
originator of it, and that he possessed the original drawing ! 

Another favourite Scotch picture of Keene's is that in which 
a drunken workman, remonstrated with by the parson, protests 

''Advice to Persons about to Marry.'' 141 

that the latter is always blaming him for his drinking, but " You 
forget my droth ! " This incident really occurred at Pitlochrie, 
and was told b}- the minister himself to Mr. Birket Foster, who 
handed it on to Keene ; but — and here comes out one of the 
charming qualities of Keene's character — the real offender was 
not a man, but a woman. It was a chivalrous practice of 
Charles Keene's ne^'er to show a woman in a really undignified 
position ; and when he was remonstrated with on the subject, on 
the ground that he distorted the truth unnecessarily, he would 
reply that " he could not be hard on the sex." But though 
" bang went saxpence " is a notable Punch joke — and it may be 
remarked that it is not less beloved of the political economist 
than of the Saturda}- Reviewer — it is not quite the best 
known. That position is easil}' attained by what is undoubtedly 
tjie most successful (that is to say, the most poi)ular) mot of its 
kind e\'er composed in the English language. 

It appeared in the Almanac for 1845 under "January," 
and, based upon the ingenious wording of an advertisement 
widely put forth b}- Eamonson & Co., well-known house 
furnishers of the day, ran as follows : — 


It is doubtful whether an}- line from any author is so 
often quoted as " Punch's advice." It crops up continu- 
al!}', almost continuously, though not exactly when least to 
be expected, as experience teaches us to expect it always ; 
and I ma}' assert from m.y own observation that it 
appears in one or other of the papers of the kingdom on 
an average twice or thrice a week. Perhaps what has lent 
additional piquancy to Pujich's piece of quaint philosophy is 
the mystery hitherto surrounding its authorship. An inquirer 
who endea\-oured a few years ago to solve the p roblem set on 

* Compare Shirley Brooks's couplet (1857): — 

" Marry (and Don't) Come Up. 

A fellow that's single, a fine fellow's he ; 

But a fellow that's married's a /do de sc" 

142 The History of " Puxch." 

record the result of his researches, by which, according to a 
Scotch authority, he is said to have found the author in (i) a 
pohceman of Glasgow, (2) a bricklayer of Edinburgh, (3) a 
railway official at Perth, (4) a compositor in Dundee, (5) an 
hotel-keeper in Inverness, and (6) a "Free Press" reporter 
in Aberdeen. English and Irish e\-idently had no chance. A 
letter, professing to explain the whole mystery, which lies 
before me from a medical correspondent, under date Apnl 7th, 
189^, runs as follows: "When in practice as a medical man 
at Xeath, in S, Wales, it was well kno\\ai to have been 
%%Titten bv Mr. Charles Waring, a Quaker lining at ' The 
Darran,' near Xeath Abbey. ]\Ir. Waring removed from there 
to the neighbourhood of Bristol about twenty-two years ago. 
The proprietors of Punch were so pleased, they sent him 
a douceur of ;^io for the contribution!" Further inquiry 
shows that the late Mr. Waring was merely in the habit of 
quoting, not of claiming, the joke. 

Hearing Charles Keene's emphatic opinion that the author 

was a [Nliss Frances D , who many vears ago was living 

in a remote \illage in the Xorth of England, and who had 
been paid £^ for the line, I appealed to the Post Office for 
help to trace the lady out ; and through the kindly assistance 
of the officials at St. ]\Iartin's-le-Grand and elsewhere, although 
nearlv half a centur}' had elapsed, I discovered her in another 
\'illage equally remote, the Post Office having courteously 
obtained her pennission to place me in communication with 
her. But the information was of a negative kind. She was, 
she protested, quite innocent of the credit of Punch's Monu- 
mental Cynicism, and consequently had never been the re- 
cipient of the fantastic pa\mrent of ;^5 per line. But since that 
time chance has placed in mv possession the authoritative 
information ; and so far from anv outsider, anon^mious or 
declared, paid or unpaid, being concerned in it at all, the line 
simply came in the ordinar\- wav from one of the Staff — 
from the man who, with Landells, had conceived Punch and 
shaped it from the beginning, and had invented that first 
Almanac which had saved the paper's life — Henry Mayhew. 

To trace the history of much of Punch's original humour 

A Social Agony. 143 

would hardly be desirable, even were it possible. But there 
are many examples of it which, while essentially original to 
Punch, have yet sprung from circumstances independent of 
it, and are in themselves amusing enough to be related, or 
which otherwise present points of interest. To some of these 
I call attention, for they illustrate Punch's own aphorism that 
" it is easier to make new friends than new jokes." 

There is a capital story in Mr. Le Fanu's " Seventv Years 
of Irish Life,' in which the author tells of a man who was 
accidentally knocked down b}- the buffer of a locomotive near 
Bray Station. He was not seriously hurt, and but partially 
stunned ; and the porters who quickly ran to the spot deter- 
mined to take him to the station at once. The hero of the 
accident, overhearing where they were carrying him, imagined 
that he was being given in charge. " What do you want to 
take me to the station for ? " he asked. " You know me ; 

and if I've done any damage to your d d engine, sure I'm 

ready to pay for it ! " This stor\- of 'Sir. Le Fanu's reached 
Keene's ears long before the author incorporated it in his 
book, and with the change of hardly a word it illustrated one 
of the best drawings the artist ever drew. 

Though undoubtedly many of Punch's jokes are deliberatelv 
manufactured, or else improved from actual incidents, a vast 
number — like that quoted just now — are used with but slight 
textual editing, just as they occurred. Thus Joe Allen it was — 
the light-hearted artist who contributed an article to Punch's 
first number — who provided I\Ir. du ]\Iaurier years afterwards 
with that "social agony" in which a great lover of children, 
im-ited to a juvenile party, bursts into the room with the crv 
of "Here we are again " — walking in on his hands like a 
clo^^'n — to find that he had come to the wrong house next 
door, and was scandalising a sedate and stately dinner partv. 
Henry ]Ma}-hew had a story of which a facetious police officer 
of his acquaintance was the hero. The latter was driving 
"Black ^Nlaria" along the street when he was hailed bv a 
waggish omnibus-driver who affected to mistake the depress- 
ing character of the passing vehicle. " Anv room?" he 
asked. " Yes, " replied the officer, with a grin, " we've kept 

144 ^^^' History of "Punch.'' 

a place on purpose for you. Jump inside!" "What's the 
fare ? " inquired the humorist, a httle " non-plushed," as 
Jeames expressed it, at the unexpected retort. " Same as you 
had before — bread and water, and skilly o' Sundays ! " The 
joke duly appeared in Punch after a long interval (Vol. 
XLVL), illustrated by Charles Keene, under the title of 
" Frightful Levity." 

Another omnibus story, printed just as it occurred, was 
that in which a conductor replies to an old gentleman in the 
south of London, whose destination was the " Elephant and 
Castle." " Yus — you go on to the Circus, and change into a 
Helephant." " Oh, mamma ! " exclaims a little girl seated 
near the door, " do let's go too ! " " Go where ? " " To the 
circus, and see the old gentleman change into an elephant ! " 
A similar incident, it may be observed, was illustrated by 
Eltze's pencil in 1861, when a passenger in the "Highbury 
'Bus" asks the conductor to "change him into a Hangel." 
Jack Harris has often appeared in Punch. He was a driver 
beside whom Mr. Edmund Yates often rode — "a wonderfully 
humorous fellow, whose queer views of the world and real 
native wit afforded me the greatest amusement. A dozen of 
the best omnibus sketches were founded on scenes which 
had occurred with this fellow, and which I described to John 
Leech, whose usually gi-ave face would light up as he listened, 
and who would reproduce them with inimitable fun." 

The horrified swell of Leech's who is implored by an 
onion-hawker to " take the last rope " was in reality his friend 
Mr. Horsley, R.A., by whom the artist was provided with a 
number of humorous subjects. The unfailing advantage taken 
b}' Leech of all such contributions, which his friends assured him 
were " not copyright," has been universally recognised. Among 
the subjects suggested to him b}- Dean Hole was that in 
which his coachman, " unaccustomed to act as waiter, watched, 
with great agony of mind, the jelly which he bore swaying 
to and fro, and set it down upon the table with a gentle 
remonstrance of ' Who— a, who — a, who — a,' as though it were 
a restive horse." By a curious coincidence, as I have heard 
from the lips of a member of one of the great brewing firms, 

"/ Used Your Soap Two Yeafs Ago." 145 

on the very clay before the appearance of Mr. dii Maurier's 
drawing * the identical incident had occurred in his own 
house, and it was hard to beheve on the following morning 
that the subject of his j-jlunging blanc-mange, similarly apo- 
strophised, had not been imported by some sort of magic into 
Punch's page. A similar coincidence, far graver in its first 
suggestion, has been given me by 'Six. Arnold-Forster. A 
friend of his sent in to Punch a comic sketch of the Tsar 
travelling b}' railway, while he sent a deco\' train in iJic 
opposite direction — which was blown up ! The paper con- 
taining the sketch was printed by the Monda)', and before 
it was published that had really occurred which Punch had 
playfully invented. Until the following week, when an 
explanation was published, a certain section of the public 
criticised, with justifiable severity, what they took to be the 
bad taste and ill-timed fooling of the Jester. 

From Mr. Harrv Furniss's pen came an oil-quoted draw- 
ing (lately used as an ad^'ertisement), the idea of which 
reached him from an anonvmous correspondent. It is that of 
the grimy, unshaven, unwashed, mangy-looking tramp, who 
sits down to write, with a broken quill, a testimonial for a 
firm of soap-makers : " I used your Soap two years ago ; 
since then Tve used no other!' A further point of interest 
about this famous sketch was that Charles Keene was deeply 
offended by it at first — in the groundless belief that it was in- 
tended as a skit upon himself. It must at least be admitted 
that the head is not unlike what one might have expected to 
belong to a dissipated and dilapidated Charles Keene. But 
the nature of Mr. Furniss's work was of such a kind, and 
the artist himself has alwavs overflowed with so prodigal a 
flood of original quaintness, that comparatively few sketches 
were ever sent in to him, or, being sent, were used. The 
origin of one of his creations — that of the Sergeant-at- 
Arms as a beetle — is an example of the lightness and quick- 
ness of his fancv. This representation, it has been said, 
was generally supposed to bear some spiteful sort of reference 
to the shape of Captain Cosset's legs, which in breeches 

*See Punch, p. 235, Vol. LXL, 1S61. 

146 The History of ''Punch.'' 

and silk stockings did not perhaps appear to the best 
advantage ; and, further, that the idea was suggested by the 
appearance on the floor of the House of Commons, in the course 
of a particularly wearisome debate, of a monster black-beetle 
marching slowl}^ across under the e3-es of the Representatives 
of the People, breaking the monotony of the proceedings, and 
arousing altogether disproportionate interest among the yawning 
members ; that the " stranger " was quickly spied by the artist, 
who about this time had to complain that certain facilities had 
been refused him by the Sergeant-at-Amis, and who, in retalia- 
tion, professed thenceforward to believe that the two creatures 
were identical. But the insinuation was untrue. For the 
Sergeant was already an established insect in Punch before 
the appearance of the genuine black-beetle ; and, moreover, 
so little did he resent it, that he used to stick the amusing 
little libels all round his mantelpiece. 

The national practice of sending in alleged jokes to Punch — 
a practice, I imagine, of which the result is sufficient to prove 
how deficient in wit, if not in humour, is the English people 
considered as a community — is doubtless a convenient one to the 
many persons who live upon a fraudulent reputation of being 
"outside," and of course anonvmous, Punch contributors. '' How 
clever of you ! " said a lady in one well-authenticated case to 
just such an impostor ; '' how very clever you must be ! And 
what is it you write in Punch ? " "Oh, all the best things are 
mine." The difficulty which Thomas Hood actually experienced 
in establishing his authorship of " The Song of the Shirt " is 
recorded in its proper place ; while, among other things, Mr. 
Milliken's " Childe Chappie " was claimed, as was afterwards 
ascertained, by a literary ghoul whose strange taste it was 
to batten upon the comic writings of others, and to use his 
borrowed reputation to ingratiate himself with the fair and 
trusting sex. 

Not a few of Punch's jokes have been sent in by men who 
were destined a little later on to become members of the Staff 
and diners at the Table. Mr. Furniss's first drawing, as is 
duly explained elsewhere, was re-drawn b}' Mr. du Maurier, and 
Mr. Burnand's initial contribution — a little sketch of 'Varsity 

An Unconscious Joker. 147 

life — was re-drawn b}- Leech. But quite a number of non-pro- 
fessional wits and humorists have acted as disinterested friends, 
whose benevolent assistance has gone far to colour Punch with 
the characteristics of their own vis, comica. The chief of 
these no doubt is Mr. Joseph Crawhall, of Newcastle, whose 
devoted service to his friend Charles Keene was an im- 
portant factor in the artist's Punc/i-Wfe. From his other friends, 
Mr. Birket Foster and Mr. Andrew Tuer, Keene was in receipt 
of a great number of jokes — from the latter they came almost as 
regularly as the weekly paper. It was also from Mr. Tuer that 
he received, among many others, that happy thought, so happily 
realised, of the gentleman who one day paid an unaccustomed 
visit to his stables to give an order, and asking his coachman's 
child, " Well, my little man, do you know who I am ? " 
received for answer, " Yes, 3'ou're the man who rides in our 
carriage." This stor}- was quoted seven years later by Lord 
Aberdeen in a public speech, in which he attributed the 
adventure — though on what gi'ounds did not appear — to " a 
celebrated physician," apparently Sir Andrew Clark. 

After Charles Keene's death Mr. Tuer's humorous vein was 
turned on to others of the Staft^ One of his contributions 
may be quoted as illustrating how unintentional are the originals 
of some of Punch' s jokes. In 1889 appeared a picture entitled 
"A New Trade," in which a country maid, on being asked 
what her last employer was, replied, " He kept a Vicarage." 
The circumstance had actuall}' taken place in Mr. Tuer's own 
house. When the number appeared, the legend was read out 
to the maid, and it was explained to her that it was Jur 
joke. She showed no enthusiasm, not even appreciation ; but 
on seeing the others laugh, she said, with perfect gravity, }'et 
still with hopeful perseverance, "Well, I must try and make 
some more ! ' ' 

To Canon Ainger, also, among a crowd of willing helpers, has 
Mr. du Maurier often been indebted — for jokes rather scholarly 
than farcical, such as the parod}' spoken by a wretched passenger 
leaving the steamboat — 

" Take, O boatman, thrice thy fee — 
I've been as ill as any three ! " 
K 2 


The History of "■ Punch!' 

Most, perhaps, resembling the " Unknown Man " of the 
United States ah-eacly spoken of is INIr. Henry Walker, of 
Worcester, a gentleman of wit and artistic knowledge. It had 
for many years been his practice, whenever inspired with a 
good idea for a humorous drawing, to make a sketch of it in 
his album ; and thus he had collected a goodly number. At first 


" >•'. 


- ■ - ' '"f"^, 


^ • ^K V^fe^ 

S • 

"N. ^. 




: ■ r . 

! '' \ 

A ^■--/'-■\-'* 


Eminent Musician : "You play, I believe ? " 
S'ii'dl Amateur : " Ya-as ! " 
Eminent Musician : " The concertina ? " 
S'.t'ell Amateur : " No — the comb ! " 

{From the Sketch by Henry Waiker.) 

he would send his sketches to Keene from time to time, receiving 
due pecuniary acknowledgment in return, but later on he left 
the whole book with jVIark Lemon to draw from as he listed. 
Altogether, between the vears 1867 and 1869, Keene made 
fifteen drawings from Mr. Walker's book, in some cases keeping 
close to the original designs, in others entirely altering them ; 
but in that re-drawn by Mr. du Maurier from the sketch here 
reproduced, the original has been greatly departed from and 

It may be added that when Punch artists re-draw and touch 



up an outsider's sketch, it is their usual practice not to sign their 
drawings, but to leave them without any indication of their 

Apart from these willing contributors are those from whom 
the Editor, always on the look-out for new blood and fresh wit, 
invites contributions, having seen good work of theirs elsewhere. 

Eminent Musician : " You play, 1 believe ? " 
Swell Amateur : " Ya-as ! " 
Eminent Musician : " Concertina ? " 
S'd'ell Amateur : " No — comb ! " 

{Reduced frotn the Drawing- by G. dii ATaiirier in " P7inch," 10th June, i858.) 

It is often thus that PiiiicJis ranks are recruited, and that 
Mr. Lucy, Mr. Lehmann, Mr. Partridge, Mr. Phil May, and 
others have been drawn into the agreeable vortex of White- 

On at least one occasion, however. Punch threw his ker- 
chief in vain, for Mr. Bristed tells us, in his " Five Years at an 
English University," how the Epigram Club, of Oxford, was 
invited by the Editor to send its productions to Punch, but 
that " with true English reserve " the Society came to an agree- 
ment that all their transactions should remain in manuscript. 


I50 The History of ''Punch." 

Beside the editor o£ a comic journal stalks a demon on either 
hand — the Belial of Plagiarism and the Beelzebub of Repetition. 
The public looks to him to be a wit and a humorist, with a 
knowledge of every witticism that ever was made. If he suffer 
an old joke to appear, some "constant reader" will surely find 
him out, and publish the fact abroad with malignant glee. There 
are few vices so deeply resented as the telling of an old joke ; 
in an editor it is recognised as amounting to crime. But those 
who judge so severely have clearly never made a scientific study 
of the Joke. It is not sufficient to analyse a witticism and dissect 
it, in the cold spirit of that terrible book called " A Theory of Wit 
and Humour," till its humour flies, like the delicate bouquet from 
uncorked wine. The genealog}' of jokes and twists of humour 
and of thought, of form and application, must be traced ; and 
the student will find that in respect to a great proportion of our 
verbal jests of to-day they may be tracked up to the ^Middle 
Ages, back to Classic times, and lost perchance in the Oriental 
recesses of a jocular past. It is not only a case of mere 
unconscious repetition or of brazen-faced plagiarism that is the 
principle involved ; it has its root in the chameleon-like variety 
of aspect possible to a piece of fooling or a flash of wit. Jokes 
are as adaptable to times and circumstances, as the human race 
itself; and to identifS' them and pin them down on a speci- 
men card, one must be another Pastor Aristaius, alert and 
skilful, in pursuit of a lightning Proteus, infinitely ^■arious and 
hopelessly volatile. 

But even that is not enough. Suppose the editor to be a 
scholar, deeplv read in the Classics and in Oriental writings, and 
endowed besides with a memory so prodigious as to be able to 
recognise every joke that turns up, he has still to guard against 
the contributor, on whom he is to a considerable extent depend- 
ent. The jest-purveyor may be honest when he unwittingly sends 
in a joke that has already gone the rounds, and has appeared 
perhaps in some countrv paper ; or he may be deliberatelv dis- 
honest ; or he may simply be impatient at not seeing his con- 
tribution printed (perhaps, after all, it is only being kept back 
for an illustration to be drawn to accompany it), and may send 
it off elsewhere — anticipating its publication in the paper of his 

Mr. Beth ell Obtains His Injunctions. i 5 1 

original choice. Or a gi-oup of jokes may form the stock-in- 
trade of a newly accepted contributor, who, as the seaside land- 
ladies sav, "must have brought them in his portmantel." And 
then there are recurring events that naturally give recurring 
birth to jokes they almost necessarily suggest. There is thus 
no standard, no system of identification for the thousand dis- 
guises in which a joke may lurk ; and unconscious plagiarism 
and repetition deserve greater indulgence than that which the}' 
commonlv receive. Mr. Burnand, probably the most prolific 
punster of the age, once wrote to a contributor, " For good- 
ness' sake, send no more puns ; they have all been made ! " 
Indeed, Puncli has given us more " pre-historic peeps" of 
humour than he or Mr. Reed have any notion of. " Bless 
3^ou," said Punch in his third number, ''half the proverbs given 
to Solomon are mine ! " 

It was the fashion when Punch was young for the comic 
papers to indulge in fierce recrimination and bitter charge and 
counter-charge of plagiarism. At that time it was thought that 
a satirical paper could be launched into public favour on its 
abuse of rivals — so that all the drowning journals caught at the 
straws of the others' reputations. Nowadays they more prac- 
ticallv apply for an injunction. Punch, in point of fact, has 
sought the protection of the law on more than one occasion. 
As early as 1844 the Vice-Chancellor's Court was the scene of 
the action of the Proprietors of Punch v. ^Marshall and Another, 
when Mr. Bethell, afterwards Lord Westbury, complained that 
the defendants had published a " Punch's Steamboat Com- 
panion " (an excessively vulgar production) with intention to 
deceive the public. The judge brilliantly remarked, " Well, 
this certainly is an excuse for the Court taking punch in the 
morning. (Great laughter.) I think you have made out a 
sufficient case for your injunction, 'Sir. Bethell ; " and the 
injunction was accordingly granted. In the following year 
(Julv, 1845) steps had to be taken to protect Mr. and ]Mrs. 
Caudle from the wholesale pirac>- to which they were subjected 
on everv side. Mr. Bethell again made a comic speech, 
directed primarily against the " Hereford Times" and the " St)uth- 
port Visitor," in which the eighth and ninth lectures, illustrations 

152 The History of "Punch." 

and all, had been coolly reproduced, without a word of acknow- 
ledgment. As before, the serio-comic pleader was successful, 
and obtained the desired injunctions. Again, in 1872 Mr. J. C. 
Hotten was stopped ft'om publishing '' The Story of the Life of 
Napoleon, told by the P'opular Caricaturists of the Last 30 
Years," inasmuch as the compiler had annexed from Punch all 
he desired for the work. (Law Reports 8, Exchequer 7.) Sir 
Henry Hawkins was for Punch, and Serjeant Parry defended. 
The- judge, Lord Bramwell, and jury, too, believed in the sacred 
rights of property, and a farthing damages was awarded in 
addition to the fort}' shillings paid into Court. So Punch won 
his case and gained his costs — and Hotten went on publishing 
his book just as if nothing had occurred. Another case, against 
the *' Ludgate Monthly," need only be mentioned for the sake 
of a rival's remark that the idea of Punch having published a joke 
worth copying and going to law about was the gi'eatest joke of all. 
During his minority Pu^nch made and sustained many an 
open charge of plagiarism. They were the amenities of comic 
literature, of which, however, the public soon tired ; and Punch, 
recognising that newspaper readers will not be troubled 
to take part or sides in an Eatanswill warfare that does not 
concern them, practically dropped a campaign with which 
the rest continued to persevere. But PuncJi s silence was 
misunderstood, hi any rate, it was presumed upon. When 
he could stand the audacity of the poachers no longer, he 
broke out, as recounted, in the summer of 1844, again in 
the following vear, and once more in 1847, into a practical 
prosecution. Douglas Jerrold's caustic pen had full pku' in his 
all-round denunciation of the pilferers, and in PuncJis name 
he let fl}' at big game. "First and foremost," he declared, 
"the gi^eat juggler of Printing-House Square walks in like 
a sheriff and takes our comic effects ; " and Newman's 
pencil added point to the comprehensiveness of the assault. 
Of numerous frauds, too, Punch had to complain. " Punch s 
Almanacs " of a vile and indecent sort, with which he had 
nothing in the world to do, had been issued to his detriment, 
and several papers were produced in close imitation of his 
own ; but it was the circumstance of his stolen jokes that 

Strange Case oe ''Joe Miller" and Mr. Punch. 153 

woimcled him most of all, and caused him to lay his biiton 
about him with lusty vi,s:our. The incriminated journals, 
thorouohlv in their element, retorted with well-feigned indigna- 
tion. Prominent among them ''Joe Miller the Younger" had 
professed for him at first a particular friendship which, when 
contemptuously rejected, turned, like the love of a woman 
scorned, to hate. It might have been retorted that Punch, 
in the words of his prospectus, had frankh' owned that he 
would give " asvlum for superannuated Joe Millers," and 
even that Mr. Birket Foster had been actually employed in 
1842 in "adapting" and anglicising Gavarni's drawings lor 
Punch's pages. Instead, ''Joe Miller" defended the size of 
his page, which was, he said, like Punch's own, copied from 
the " Athenajum," and protested against any attempt at 
monopoly, pointing out that the sub-title " Charivari " was 
itself a plagiarism. If anyone, he went on, could ])rove that 
he bought a Punch in mistake for a "Joe Miller," he would 
willingly pay £z^ for each copy so sold, in order "to com- 
pensate the Punch purchaser for his disappointment." 

From this moment until his death he never left Punch 
alone, and constantly pointed out many of his delinquencies, 
plagiarisms apparently so gross and frequent that it can hardly 
be doubted that some intrigue was afoot. For example, on 
August 2nd, 1845, there appeared in both papers a cartoon 
almost identical, with the attitudes reversed, entitled "The 
Political Pas de Quatre "—after the existing ballet at Her 
Majesty's Theatre, danced by Grisi, Taglioni, Grahn, and 
Cerito — representing four ballet - skirted danseuses in a 
grotesque pose or tableau. Those in the Punch cartoon 
(which, by the way, was suggested at the Table by Gilbert 
a Beckett, and was executed by Leech) were impersonated 
by Lord Brougham, Lord John Russell, Sir Robert Peel, and 
Daniel O'Connell ; while in the other appeared Lord Brougham, 
the Duke of Wellington, Sir Robert Peel, and Daniel O'Connell ; 
but, unless carefully compared, the one might certainly be 
mistaken for the other. The "Joe Miller" block was drawn 
by A. S. Henning, who had quitted the service of Punch three 
years before ; and it was claimed by his paper that the original 


The History of ''Punch: 

drawing was exhibited in their window a week before PuncJis 
appeared. But abuse of Punch for this and other curious 
coincidences did not save him, and "Joe Miller the Younger " 
soon announced his metamoi-phosis into " Mephystopheles/' 
which proved an inferior and still shorter-lived concern. 

(Drawn by A. S. Henning. From ''Jot Miller ilie Vounger," 2nd August, 1845.) 

Then followed the bright and able little monthly "The 
Man in the Moon," from which Piaic/i had some of the 
hardest knocks he ever received, for on its Staff were to be 
found most of the clever men of the day (including Shirley 
Brooks) for whom Piaich could find no room. Month after 
month examples were given of Punch's alleged pilfering, 
which really only proved how the minds of humorists run in 
grooves, especially when dealing with topical subjects ; and 
a cutting representation of Punch as an old clo'man begging 
bits of comic manuscript, with the plaintive cry of "Any Jo', 
jo'_anv old Jo' ? " scored a great success. " The Man in the 

What the IVjld Waves Sajd. 


Moon " chaffed Buhver Lytton on his initials, " E.L.B.L.B.L.B.," 
and Thackeray followed in Punch with " E.L.B.L.B.L.B.B.L.L. 
B.B.B. " And one of Leech's sketches of " The Rising 
Generation " — a small boy saying, " Aw — hairdresser, when 
you've finished my hair, just take off my beard, will you ? " 

{Drawn by John Leech. From •'Punch," 2nd August, 1843.) 

(Vol. XII., p. 104, 1847) — was also represented as a gross 
infringement. The title of a poem, " What are the Wild 
Waves Saying?" (with the reply, "We'd better have stayed 
at home"), issued in "The ^lan in the Moon," was seen 
in Punch soon after ; while the superiority of our " Xew Street- 
Sweeping Machines " over those then in use abroad (by which, 
of course, cannon was intended) appeared in Punch's pages 
a fortnight afterwards. It is an interesting fact that this 
selfsame idea of the Street-Sweeping ^Machines gave Charles 
Keene the subject for his first Punch drawing just three years 

156 The History of ''Punch." 

But, apart from charges of direct plagiarism, *' The Man 
in the Moon" certainly anticipated PiincJi in some of his 
well-known cuts. The " Patent Railway-Director Buffer," 
which consisted in the tying of a railway director on the front 
of the locomotive, was certainly the "Moon's" invention in 
February, 1847. In March, 1853, Leech showed the world 
in his cartoon " How to Ensure against Railway Accidents," 
by lashing a director across the engine a la Mazeppa ; and 
as late as 1857 (p. 24, Vol. XXXIII.) Sir John Tenniel showed 
a "Patent Railway Safet}' Buffer" preciseh^ similar to the 
original device. Again, in " The Man in the Moon" (January, 
1848) the little joke — Park-keeper {St. James's Park) : 
" You can't come in ! " B03' : " Vot do yer mean ? Ain't 
it us as keeps yer ? " — is surely related to Sir John Tenniel's 
cut (p. 181, Vol. XXXIL, 1857), in which a delightful Hodge 
gazes open-mouthed at the sentry at the Horse Guards, and 
replies, when asked what he's staring at, " Wy shouldn't I 
stare ? I pays vor yer ! " 

The " Puppet Show," too, kept up a running fire at Punch, 
and delighted in retorting upon his charge of "picking and 
stealing " by printing their jokes and his alleged belated ones in 
parallel columns. Among the pictures, too, the " Puppet Show "- 
man was sometimes first, as in the sketch of the fat old lady who 
enters an omnibus and, sitting down promiscuously somewhere 
between two gentlemen, says, "Don't disturb yourselves; I'll 
shakedown" — an idea textually repeated in Punch in 1864 by 
Mr. Fred Barnard. The "Puppet Show" (1848) is also to be 
remembered for its joke of the choleric old gentleman, indig- 
nant at the delay of an omnibus in which he has taken his 
seat, crying impatiently to the conductor, '"/s this omnibus 
going on ? " and being quietly answered, " Xo, sir ; it's 
stopping perfectly still " — a joke illustrated by Mr. du Maurier 
in Punch for 1871 (p. 208, Vol. LXI.) ; and for the picture of 
the City clerk in pink, who, surprised by his employer, is ac- 
costed with the significant words, " So that's the costume you 
are going to your uncle's funeral in ? " Charles Keene used a 
similar joke fort3'-one years later, only with time the festival 
had changed into that of an aunt. In the " Showman's " pages, 

H. S. Leigh'' s Advice to Mr. Banting. 157 

too, first appeared the Frenchman who accounts for his sore- 
throat bv explaining that ** Yesterday morning I have wash my 
neck ! " And the Duke of Welhngton, in one of the cartoons 
(Mav, 1849), cries, " Cobden, spare that tree," just as 
Beaconsfiekl pleaded with Gladstone in Tenniel's picture of 
thirty years later. Again, a man with a gorgeous black-eye 
enters a room, and when it is remarked on, expresses his surprise 
that anyone should ha\e noticed it. Six years later Leech 
repeated the idea in Punch. In his parting shot the " Show- 
man " says, " The Punch writers say they can't understand our 
jokes. We feel assured that the world will admit that they take 
them fast enough " — itself a pun, b\- the way, which Punch 
had himself used in the postscript to his first volume : " Ours 
hasn't been a bed of roses — we've had our rivals and our 
troubles. We came as a great hint, and everybody took us." 
In " The Arrow," a clever fortnightly rival which existed (it 
cannot be said to have ''flourished") in the year 1864, P//;/c7/ 
was severely handled for " plagiarising " two of tliat journal's 
jokes two or three weeks after their original publication. One 
of these had reference to the " Fight with Fate," which was then 
being played at the SuiTey Theatre ; and as Mr. Banting and his 
famous cure (the stout undertaker li^-ed but two doors from 
Leech, in The Temice at Kensington, and struck up a pleasing 
friendship with the artist) were then the talk of the town, 
" The Arrow " suggested a revised version, " A Fight with 
Fat," with a disciple of Mr. Banting as the chief character. 
Punch followed suit with the entire idea. Thereupon the rival 
editor, Henry S. Leigh — the lines are manifestly his — apo- 
strophised Mr. Banting thus : — 

" Take mental exertion — fight shy ot diversion 

(Remember, the proverb says ' Laugh and grow fat ') ; 
You may venture securely on Punch, because surely 
There can't be much fear of your laughing at thatP 

Anyone who possesses the original "Joe Miller's Jest-book" 
will be able, if he cares to look, to recognise a goodl\- number of 
the most popular jokes of the day, even including a number of 
Punch jokes. He will there find set forth in quaint terms the 

158 The History of ''Punch." 

retort of the non-churchgoer that if he is not a pillar of the 
church, he is certainly one of the buttresses, for he stops outside 
— used in due time by Charles Keene ; he will find the repartee 
placed by Punch in the drawing by the same artist (May 4th, 
1872) in the mouth of an Irish beggar-woman who had been 
refused alms bv a pug-nosed gentleman, " The Lord preserve 
your eyesight, for you've no nose to carry spectacles ; " as 
well as that witticism usually ascribed to Curran when 
addressing a jury in the face of a dissenting judge, " He 
shakes his head, but there's jwthijig i?i it ; " besides other 
favourite jokes of similar antiquity and renown. Robert 
Seymour, too, in whose work, strangely enough. Leech is said 
to have found no humour, shines out posthumously now and 
again from Punch's pages. " Move on — here's threepence," 
says a butler. " Threepence ? " retorts the street-flutist con- 
temptuously, " d'you think I don't know the %alue of peace and 
quietness ? " That was originally Se^-mour's, together with the 
drawing of an Englishman's notion of "A Day's Pleasure" — a 
labouring-man dragging a cartload of children up a steep hill on 
a hot Sunday — an idea which was afterwards the subject of a 
Punch cartoon. 

Two jokes which from their universality of treatment 
and the unfailing welcome accorded them at every reappear- 
ance might almost be considered classic and generic jests, 
were gi^eath' assisted in their popularity by Seymour's pencil, 
before Punch obtained for them still wider recognition. The 
first represents a fat man, between whose legs the dog he is 
whistling to has taken his faithful stand. The old gentleman 
whistles and whistles again, anxiously exclaiming, " Wherever 
can that dog be ? " After Seymour had done with it, Alfred 
Crowquill took it up ; and in 1854 (p. 71 of the second volume) 
Sir John Tenniel introduced it into Punch under the title of 
" Where, and oh where ! " It was not yet worn out, however, 
though it doubtless had seen its best days ; and so the 
*' Fliegende Blatter" revived it in 1894 as a typical example of 
recent German humour. For the other joke two men are 
required : the one an unmistakable ruffian, a grim and dirty 
robber, and the other a weak, nervous, timid youth of insignificant 

Generic Jokes. 159 

stature, the scene representing the entrance to a dark lane as 
night closes in. " This is a werry lonely spot, sir," says Seymour's 
footpad ; " I wonder you ain't afeard of being robbed ! " — and 
the young man's hair stands on end, and lifts his hat abo\-e his 
head. Leech in 1853 (p. 100, first volume) alters the dialogue 
for Punch by introducing the pleasing possibility of a greater 
tragedy, by the footpad asking the youth to buy a razor ; and 
Captain Howard the following spring makes the ruffian inquire 
if he may accompany his victim " to hear the nightingale." In 
"Diogenes" (December, 1854) the pristine simplicity is restored 
by the 7mi/ request that he " may go a little way " with the young 
gentleman ; and finally, in 1857, Leech once more resurrects and 
renovates it with his astonishing talent and freshness for use in 
the Almanac. 

" Are you comin' home ? " asks an indignant wife of her 
tipsy spouse, in Mr. Phil May's admirable drawing of February 
i6th, 1895. "I'll ^lo ellythik you like in reasol, M'ria (hie). 
But I won't come 'ome." In the previous 3'ear, however, 
the following had appeared in " Fun " : — '' Guid Wife. — 
' Come hame, Jock ; ye'll be doing nae guid here.' Jock. — 
' Onything in reason, Jenny, ma woman, but hame I wall nae 
gang ! ' " On the other hand, in the " Echo," in March, 
1895, appeared the following item of news: — "There is a 
curious report of a dialogue in a Chinese medical paper : — 
Doctor : ' H'm. You are run down, sir. You need an ocean 
voyage. What is your business ? ' Patient : ' Second mate of 
the A7ina Maria, ]ust m from Hong Kong.'" But more than 
a quarter of a century before. Punch had treated his readers 
to the same. — " Doctor Cockshure {advising a nervous patient) : 
' My good sir, what you want is a thorough alteration of 
climate ; the only thing to cure you is a long sea-vo\'age.' 
Patient: 'That's rather inconvenient. You see, I'm only just 
home from a sea- voyage round the world ! ' " 

It is amusing for one endowed with a taste for the history of 
humour, and gifted with the requisite memor}-, to follow some of 
these interesting revivals or re-births of comic ideas. Sir John 
Tenniel's vision of " The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street," in 
the "Pocket Book" of 18S0, was a familiar conception to those 

i6o The History of ''Punch" 

\vhoremembered"Cruikshank's Omnibus" of 1841 ; while Leech's 
sea-sick Frenchman, in p. 76 of the second volume for 1851, was 
almost the counterpart of "Glorious George's" important etching 
" A very good man, no doubt, but a Bad Sailor." Again, one of 
the most brilliant things that ever appeared in a comic journal 
was the short dialogue supposed to pass between an inquiring 
child and his philosophical though impatient parent : — 

" What is mind ? " " No matter." 

" What is matter ? " '' Never mind." 

"This well-known definition," says Dr. Furnivall, "accord- 
ing to the ' Academy,' was by Professor T. Hewitt Key ; he 
sent it to Punch, and of course it was printed forthwith — I sup- 
pose, somewhere about the 'Sixties." But as a matter of fact this 
mot, which has also been attributed to Kenn}-, had already been 
published in "The Month" as early as August, 185 1 (page 
147, Vol. I.) ; and I may add that though I remember hear- 
ing Professor Key quote it more than once, I never heard 
him pretend to its authorship. 

Then, the belated Foozle returning home drunk, and offering 
to fight his aggressive-looking hat-stand, appeared in H. J. 
Byron's "Comic News" (October 3rd, 1863), as well as in 
Punch by Keene's pencil (1875) ; and the humorous chess- 
problem in the latter paper, in which White had to mate in a 
certain number of moves, if Black interposed no serious 
obstacle, was an echo of " White to play and check if Black 
doesn't prevent him " in "The Man in the Moon " of 1847, and 
of " White to play and check if Black doesn't mate him before" 
in "The Month" of October, 185 1. 'Mr. Sambourne's famous 
"cartoon junior" of Mr. Gladstone in the character of the 
child in the soap advertisement, who "Won't be happy till he 
gets It" (i.e. the cake of Home Rule, just out of his reach), was 
found, to his subsequent annoyance and surprise, to have been 
anticipated by a week or two by the now defunct " Funny 
Folks ; " and Sir John Tenniel's cartoon representing Mr. 
Goschen, then Chancellor of the Exchequer, as a hen sitting 
on her eggs — an idea which was not new even to him, as he 
had used it in 1880, ten years before — appeared some days 
after a similar one had been issued in the " Pall Mall Budget ; " 

A Notable Blunder. i6i 

though, of course, Punch's picture had, in accordance with the 
mechanical routine of the office, been decided on a week before 

Punch's advice to vocahsts, "Take care of the sense, and 
the sounds will take care of themselves" (November, 1892), 
had, curiousl}' enough, been spoken years before by the eccentric 
Duchess in "Alice in Wonderland;" and his conceit that there 
is no fear for the prosperity of Ireland under Home Rule " so 
long as her capital's D(o)ublin' " dates from still earlier times. 
Then there was the fine old Scotch joke of a Glasgow baillie 
who, replying to the toast of the " Law," remarked that " all 
our greatest law-gi^•ers are dead — Aloses is dead, Solon is dead, 
Confucius and Justinian are dead — and I'm nae fcelin that vera 
zveel Diysel' ," which in March, 1893, Pimf^h republished, adapt- 
ing it, however, to modern literature — the speaker quaintly in- 
cluding George Eliot amongst our deceased " best men." More 
recently a precisely parallel anecdote has been attributed to 
Dr. McCosh, apropos of Leibnitz's theory of evil (" Westminster 
Gazette," January, 1895). ^^^^l again, there is an old story of 
Baron Rothschild, who when \ex\ h\\^\ received the visit of 
a business acquaintance. "Take a chair," quoth the Baron. 
"Can't," said his visitor, "I'm in a hurry." "Then take two 
chairs," suggested the Baron, still engi'ossed. In 1871 the same 
joke was sent in to Punch in a remodelled form, and duly 
published. "Call me a cab!" says an excited gentleman. 
"You're too late, sir," replies the servant; "a cab couldn't do 
it." " Confound you ! " cries the other, "call two cabs, then ! " 

In 1892 a catastrophe befell PuncJi, a double faux pas. An 
excellent child story had been printed in " Vanity Fair " of 
October 15th, in which a little girl at a Sunday-school class was 
asked to define a parable : " Please, miss," replies the child, 
"a parable's a 'eavenly stor}- with no earthly meaning!" A 
fortnight later Punch, who had been victimised, had the mis- 
fortune, not onlv to come out with the same joke, but by a 
typographical slip to spoil it by making the child define a 
parable as "a heavenlv story with an earthly meaning" — the 
result being to evoke a pasan of exultation from the few papers 
whose fa^'ourite sport it is to keep a male^'olent weatlier-e^'e on 

1 62 The History of "Punch." 

Punch in perpetual hope of catching him tripping. Just such 
a httle chorus of mischievous dehght greeted the pubUcation 
of Mr. du Maurier's joke in which an old maid complains that 
a serious drawback to the charming view from her windows is 
the tourists bathing on the opposite shore. It is true, as her 
friend reminds her, that the distance is very great — " biU with 
a telescope, yon knoiv /" But years before, Charles Keene had 
illustrated the same idea, taking, however, a cricket dressing- 
tent instead of a bathing shore ; and long before that it had 
been scoffed at for its antiquity. 

In like fashion another Pnnch-hdMer complained a quarter 
of a century ago that an American paper printed a joke which 
Punch duly used as a " social," and which has since been re- 
vived as follows : " Harriet Hosmer tells of an incident which 
occurred in her studio, where her statue of Apollo rested. 
An old lad}" was being shown around, a Mrs. Raggles, and she 
paused before this masterpiece a long time. Finally she 
exclaimed, * So that's Apoller, is it ? ' She was assured that 
it was. ' Supposed to be the handsomest man in the world, 
warn't he ? ' The surmise was assented to. Then turning 
away disgustedly, ' Wal,' she said, ' I've seen Apoller and 
I've seen Raggles — an' I say. Give me Raggles ! ' " 

One of the stories told of Dominique was once printed 
in Punch as original. This was when he took a bath 
by the doctor's order, and being asked how he felt, replied, 
" Rather wet." The jokelet, curioush' enough, had already 
been printed in '' Mark Lemon's Jest-Book," and was so far 
a classic that it is to be found in the ''Arlequina" of 1694. 
Again, the story of the boy who, when ordered b}' a " swell " 
to hold his horse, asked if it bit, or kicked, or took two to 
hold, and when reassured on each point, replied, '' Then hold 
him yourself," is older still ; for it is to be found in '' Mery 
Tales, Wittie Questions and Quicke Answeres \^ery pleasant 
to be Readde" (published by H. Wilkes in 1567), under the 
heading, " Of the Courtier that bad the boy holde his horse, 
xliii." This little book, by the way, is included in Hazlitt's 
collection of Shakespeare's Jest-books. 

In drawing attention to these incidents in Punch's career 

Old Jokes for New. 163 

— examples of which might easily be multiplied — it is not 
my pm-pose to expose shortcomings, but rather to insist 
on the difficulty of the humorist's path and the pitfalls that 
beset genuine originality. ''The late Mark Lemon," wrote 
Mr. Hatton, " had a kind of editorial instinct for an old joke. 
He could identify the spurious article as easih' as an expert 
detects counterfeit money. Lemon's soul was in Punch, and 
he had a keen memory for every line that liad appeared in 
its columns. He edited a book of humorous anecdotes, but 
even he overlooked numerous doubles, and left not a few 
errors for the detection of the critics ;" in fact, was fallible too, 
as in the nature of things he was bound to be. And Shirle}' 
Brooks, although with his wide knowledge of comic literature 
and "happy thoughts" he was successful too, had never- 
theless humiliation to bear for blunders not a few. Tom 
Taylor neither knew nor cared ; as Mr. Labouchere severely 
said, "he had no sense of humour," and the jokes had to 
take their chance. But to-day a careful eye is kept to this 
question of originality, and so far as cartoons are concerned, 
Sir John Tenniel has always been trusted to see that subjects 
for cartoons are not used over again. 

Although Punch has tripped now and again, he has been 
the comic quarry which the nation and the nation's press 
have worked for half a century, quoting, borrowing, stealing, 
a thousand times to his once. His best ideas are enjoyed and 
used, and in due time are sent back, often quite innocently, 
for re-issue. Xa}', even what is popularly known in England 
as "modern American humour" has been claimed as a leaf 
out of PuncJi s book, quaint exaggeration forming its staple 
feature, as in the case where we are told that " a young artist 
in Pica3'une takes such perfect likenesses that a lady married 
the portrait of her lover instead of the original." 

Lastly, a couple of drawings by Mr. du Maurier may be 
referred to (second volume for 1872, and first volume for 1894), 
which created a good deal of amusement at the time of their 
publication. In the first case a visitor calls to inquire 
after the condition of a happy mother. And the babe, is it 
a boy? " Xo," says the page. Ah! a girl. " Xo," repeals 

L 2 

164 The History of ''Punch" 

the lad. What is it, then ? asks the startled visitor. " If 
you please," replies the intelligent retainer, " the doctor said 
it was a Heir ! " Now, this joke almost textiially repro- 
duces a circumstance attending the birth of that Earl of 
Dudley of whom Rogers wrote the epigram which Byron 
thought '' unsurpassable " : — 

" Ward has no heart, they say ; but I deny it ; 
He has a heart, and gets his speeches by it." 

The second drawing reproduces a story (long since for- 
gotten) of the first Duke of Wellington, who joined a notorious 
gambling club, with the express view, it was said, to black- 
balling his son, the Marquis of Douro, a likely candidate — 
and then went complacently and told him so. 

Much the same difficulty attending the identification and 
indexing of the jokes of the past is experienced in respect 
to P/^icA itself. Consider for a moment. That work consisted 
in the summer of 1895 of 108 volumes. At the moderate esti- 
mate of four jokes per column, attempted and made, we 
reach a gi"and total of nearly 270,000 jokes — a total bewilder- 
ing in its vastness, and representing, one would think, all the 
humour that ever was produced since this melancholy world 
began. The mind refuses to grasp such a mass of comicality ; 
how, then, would you classify this prodigious joviality and 
sarcasm ? How detect a joke that may reappear under a 
hundred disguises of time, place, condition, and application — 
yet the same root-joke after all ? Is it surprising that the 
same ideas recur — and, recurring, sometimes escape the shrewd 
eye of Puncli s investigation department ? 

It has already been said that to Sir John Tenniel it has 
fallen to prevent the repetition of subjects in respect to the 
cartoons. Yet it must not be imagined that others on the 
Staff are not as earnest students of Puncli & pages, that they 
have not graduated as ]\I asters of his Arts. Yet, for all their 
vigilance, repetitions have often recurred. You remember 
Tenniel' s superb cartoon of the noble savage manacled with 
the chains of slaver}^ taking refuge on a British ship with 
clasped hands uplifted to the commander 'i It was at the time 

Pictures Re-pictured. 165 

of Mr. Ward Hunt's slavery circular, and was entitled " Am 
I not a Man and a Brother ? " A like subject with the 
same title was contributed by Leech on June ist, 1844, 
when a manacled negro appeals to Lord Brougham, who, 
making ''a long nose," hurries off to the Pri\y Council Office. 
Similarh^ have we had two "Vigils" — one in the spring of 
1854, and the other thirty-four years later. And Punch's ex- 
clusion from France, figuratively at Calais Pier, has been the 
subject of two drawings — the first in 1843,* and the other, by 
Mr. Linley Sambourne, on January 12th, 1878. The repe- 
titions at such long intervals lose, of course, any such 
significance as the critical might feel inclined to attribute ; 
but in Punch's nonage the self-same engi'avings have more 
than once been actually used a second time, such as " Deaf 
Burke" — the celebrated prize-fighter of Windmill Street — who 
was shown twice in the first ^'olume, certainly not for his 
beauty's sake ; a drawing by Hine, which was similarly 
employed in the same 3"ear ; and in 1842 a cut by Gagniet, 
which had been bought from a French publication. Perhaps 
the nearest modern approach to this was when in 1872 Mr. 
Sambourne practically repeated his figm^e of ]Mr. Punch 
turning round from his easel to face the reader. 

At the time when the Russo-Turkish War was drawing to 
a close, one of the most powerful of Tenniel's cartoons — 
which made a great impression on the country, as giving keen 
point to Mr. Gladstone's agitation against Lord Beaconsfield's 
attitude at that period — was the drawing of the Prime IVIinister, 
leaning back comfortably reading in his armchair, declaring 
that he can see nothing at all about " Bulgarian Atrocities " in 
the Blue Books, though the background of the picture itself 
is all violence and butchery. Yet nobody recalled the fact that 
the artjst had made a similar cartoon of Cobden and Pal- 
merston in the spring of 1857. 

Charles Keene certainly had not studied his Punch as he 
ought. Of that there is abundant proof; for although the care 
he took to obtain good and original jokes was conscientious 
in the extreme, he over and over again re-drew his own and 

* See p. 191. 

i66 The History of "Punch" 

other people's drolleries. The British grumble of the British 
famier who under no circumstances can be appeased or con- 
tented was t5'pified by Leech in a picture wherein the famier 
was represented as looking at a splendid field of heavy golden 
corn (p. 96, Vol. XXVII. , 1854), but was not satisfied even 
then. '' Ah ! " he grumbles, " see what it'll cost me to get it 
in!" The idea tickled Keene so greatly when he heard it 
that, entirely unmindful of Leech's page, he made a drawing of 
the same subject on p. 268 of the first volume for 1878 ; and 
then, forgetting all about it, eleven years later (p. 35 of the 
second volume for 1889) he actually did it all over again ! 

" What do you mean by coming home at this time of 
night ? " asks an indignant wife of her tipsy husband. " My 
dear," replies the prodigal, with a generous attempt at 
candour and conciliation, " all other places shu'rup ! " Keene 
drew this admirably in 1871 (p. 71, Vol. LXL), and Mr. du 
Maurier most delightfully again in 1883 (p. 14, Vol. LXXXIV.). 
These and many more examples of unconscious receptivity and 
reproduction by professional humorists will strike the atten- 
tive reader of Punch's pages. He will see how to both 
Leech and Mr. Ralston occurred the idea of an over-dressed 
vulgarian in morning clothes protesting in angr}^ dismay against 
the opera-house officials' suggestion that he is not in " full 
dress ; " how both Miss Georgina Bowers (1870) and Mr. du 
Maurier were tickled by the retort to the economical dictum 
that it is extravagant to have both butter and jam on a slice 
of bread — " Extravagant ? Economical ! — same piece of bread 
does for both ! " ; how " Childe Chappie's Pilgrimage " of 
our day was preceded by "■ Child Snobson's Pilgrimage " of 
1842 ; how Mr. du Maurier in November, 1888, and again in 
the Almanac for 1895 repeated the joke of a husband declaring 
that he would be "extremely annoyed" if in the event of 
his death his wife did not invite certain of his particular friends 
to his funeral ; how Poe's '' Bells " maintain their power to 
attract the parodist ; how curiously tempting to the punster is 
the idea of a bashful policeman in the National Gallerv being 
asked where " the fine new Constable is " (for Mr. Burnand, 
Charles Keene, and Sir Frank Lockwood have all done it, 

A Jest from Different Points of View. 167 

in the order indicated) ; and many other amusing sHps of 
the sort. And he must not on any account miss those twin 
jokes — for they are both of them good and in their essence 
identical — of John Leech and Mr. du Maurier. 

In Mr. du Manner's version we have a poor woman touting 
for a bottle of wine for her sick husband. The doctor had 
recommended port, she says — " and it doesn't matter how 
old it is, sir ! " In Leech's the host is impressing on his 
youthful guest that "that wine has been in ni}' cellar four- 
and-twenty years come last Christmas — four-and-twenty years, 
sir ! " And the guileless youth gushingly makes answer, in 
the belief that he is making himself remarkably pleasant, 
"Has it really, sir? What it must have been when it was 
new !" 

1 68 



The Cartoon takes Shape — "The Parish Councils Cockatoo'" — Cartoonists 
and their Relative Achievements — ^John Leech's First — Rapidity in Design 
— "General Fe\Tier turned Traitor" — "The United Service" — Sir John 
Tenniel's Animal Types — "The British Lion Smells a Rat" — The Indian 
Mutiny — A Cartoon of Vengeance — Punch and Cousin Jonathan — " Ave 
Caesar!" — The Franco-Prussian War — The Russo-Turkish War — "The 
Political ' Mrs. Gummidge" " — " Dropping the Pilot,"' its Origin and Present 
Ownership — "Forlorn Hope'" — "The Old Crusaders" — Troubles of the 
Cartoonist — The Obituary- Cartoon. 

In describing the Punch Dinner I show how the merr}- meeting 
lapses, by a natural transition, from pleasure to work, and ends 
Avith the evolution of the cartoon ; how the mist of talk, vague 
perhaps and undecided at first, slowly develops a bright 
nebulous point, round which the discussion revolves and 
revolves, until at last it takes form, slowly and carefully, 
though changed a dozen times, and finallv, after being threshed 
and threshed again, stands in the ultimate form in which next 
week it meets the public eye. 

For when the meal is done, and cigars and pipes are duly 
lighted, subjects are deliberately proposed in half-a-dozen 
quarters, imtil quite a number may be before the Staff. They 
are fought all round the Table, and, imless ob^^ously and 
strikingly good, are probably rejected or attacked with the 
good-humoured ridicule and withering scorn distinctive of true 
friendship and cordial intimacy. Then is each fully and form- 
ally debated, every tussle advancing it a stage, and none finally 
accepted until all the others have fallen in the battledore-and- 
shuttlecock process to which they have been subjected. Then, 
when the subject is settled, comes the consideration of the 
details — what should the grouping be ? what the accessories ? 
how many figures ? — ( diu"ing the hunting season John Leech 
would decline to introduce more than two, as his week-end 

A Happy Thought. 169 

would otherwise be spoiled^ — and other minor yet still im- 
portant considerations ; and then each man's opinion has its 
proper weight in the Council of Punch. In this year of grace 
Mr. Lucy is listened to with the respect due to his extraordinary 
Parliamentary knowledge ; Mr. Milliken is the chief literary- 
authority since " the Professor " (Percival Leighj went to his 
rest ; and so each man is counted upon for the special or expert 
knowledge he may bring to bear on the particular subject then 
before the meeting. 

And when the subject of the cartoon is a political one, the 
debate grows hot and the fun more furious, and it usually ends 
by Tories and Radicals accepting a compromise — for the parties 
are pretty evenly balanced at the Table ; while Mr. Burnand 
assails both sides with perfect indifference. At last, when the 
intellectual tug-of-war, lasting usually from half-past eight for 
just an hour and three-quarters by the clock, is brought to a 
conclusion, the cartoon in all its details is discussed and deter- 
mined; and then comes the fight over the title and the 
"cackle," amid all the good-natured chaff and banter of a 
pack of boisterous, high-spirited schoolboys. 

More than once it has happened that notwithstanding a 
subject being well on the way to becoming a cartoon — the raw 
material of an idea ha^^ng been almost hammered into a 
presentable political missile or social criticism by the heads of 
the company — a side remark may arrest further labour, and 
turn attention in an entirely different direction. Such was the 
case with one of the most successful cartoons of recent years. 
The topic of the week was the Parish Councils Bill, which was 
then before the Lords, and was receiving severe handling in that 
House. In the course of discussion came an "aside " from Mr. 
Arthur a Beckett, to the effect that " Gladstone is having a 
deuce of a time." "Like the cockatoo," assented Mr. Lehmann, 
referring to the story of the unhappy bird which was left for 
a short while alone with a monkey, and which, when the owner 
returned to the room and found his bird clean plucked of its 
feathers by the monkey— all but a single plume in the tail- 
looked up dejectedly, and croaked in tones of almost voiceless 
horror, " I've been having a doose of a time ! " The remarks 

I/O The History of "Punch." 

were caught at by Mr. Bnrnand as a happy thought, and the 
new idea was tossed hke a ball from one to another until there 
issued from it the well-known design of the monkey in its 
coronet, as the House of Lords, having plucked the cockatoo- 
Bill of most of its feather-clauses — a drawing which, under 
the title of 'The Parish Councils Cockatoo," hit off the 
situation with singular felicit}', and reaped the reward of 
the public applause. In a similar manner there developed Mr. 
Sambourne's peculiarly happy " Cartoon Junior," representing 
Mr. Gladstone, newly retired, looking up from the perusal of 
the first speech made b}' Lord Rosebery on his promotion to 
the Premiership — a speech some of the points of which he 
afterwards had to withdraw or explain awa}^ — with the words, 
" Pity a Prime Minister should be so ambiguous ! " In the 
arrangement of these second cartoons, which, as is elsewhere 
described, immediately follows the handing of the written-out 
subject of the main picture to Sir John Tenniel, a contrast is 
always the first thing sought for. If the first deals with foreign 
politics, the second must treat of home matters, political or 
social ; if the "senior" is social, the "junior " will be political ; 
if Sir John is realistic, Mr. Sambourne is idealistic. And if it 
is impossible so to differentiate them, the prominent figures 
at least which appear in the one are carefully avoided in the 

But in the early years of Punch the method was not so 
democratic. The matter was discussed, but the preponderance 
of two or three of the Staff made their opinions felt to such a 
degree that when a subject was proposed by one of them, that 
subject, when it appeared, was unmistakably theirs and nobody 
else's. I have before me the full details of these matters during 
a considerable period, and I find that on the whole Douglas 
Jerrold was the most prolific of suggestors, while Henry 
Mayhew (so long as he remained), Gilbert Abbot a Beckett, 
Mark Lemon, and Horace Mayhew, roughly speaking, divided 
the honours between them. Thackeray seldom made a sug- 
gestion, and it is not very often that the entry " Leech solus " 
is credited to the gi^eat cartoonist before 1848. During the 
years 1845, 1846, and 1847, for instance, Leech alone proposed 

" Punch 's " Cartoonists. i 7 1 

eleven subjects, Mark Lemon thirty-five, Henr}- ^Vlayhew 
twenty, Horace Mayhew fifteen, Douglas Jerrold sixteen, 
Thackeray four, Tom Taylor four, Gilbert a Beckett two, and 
Percival Leigh two, leaving the rest to be shared by the united 

The men who have borne the title of Ptinch's Cartoonist are 
fifteen in number. Taking them in the chronological order of 
their first contribution, not of drawings, but of cartoons to the 
paper, they are : 1841, A. S. Henning, \V. Newman, Brine, 
John Leech, and Birket Foster; 1842, A. "Crowquill," Kenny 
Meadows, H. G. Hine, and H. Heath ; 1843, R. J. Hamerton ; 
1844, R. Doyle; 1851, John Tenniel ; 1852, W. McConnell ; 
1864, Charles Keene ; and 1884 and 1894, Linley Sambourne.* 

From March 4th, 1843, to September 30th, 1848 (after which, 
with the exception of one cartoon in 1849 from Newman, and a 
few from McConnell in 1852, John Leech and John Tenniel 
shared the cartoon-drawing absolutely between them — no other 
hand making one at all for six-and-thirty years), there appeared 
314 cartoons in about 286 weeks. It sometimes happened that 
Punch appeared without a cartoon at all, especially in those 
parlous cashless days of 1842, and again in 1846 and 1848 ; but, 
on the other hand, two cartoons were frequently given in the 
same number, usually from different hands, though occasionally 
Leech would do both. The 314 designs were made up thus :— 

J. Leech 

... 223 

R. Doyle 

... 53 

Kenn}' Meadows 

... 14 

R. J. Hamerton 

... 10 

H. G. Hine 

... 8 

W. Newman ... 

... 6 

314 (exclusive of 

the Almanacs) 

—Hamerton having taken Hine's place, Doyle haN'ing super- 
seded Hamerton, and Meadows, after 1844, having disappeared. 

* Contributed one cartoon on July 12th, 18S4, and another November 3rd, 
1894, when the expected death of the Tsar Alexander III., on the subject of 
which Sir John Tenniel's cartoon had been prepared, did not occur. " Cartoon 
Junior" was then promoted to "Cartoon Senior." 

1/2 The History of ''Punch." 

Roughly speaking, from the commencement of Punch to the 
end of 1894, there have been 2,750 cartoons in all, and these 
have been contributed approximately thus : 

Sir John Tenniel ... ... ... 1,860 

John Leech ... ... ... ... 720 

R. Doyle ... ... ... ... 70 

Other Cartoonists ... ... ... 100 


— representing an amount of thought and artistic achievement 
colossal in the aggregate, and perfectly appalling in the case of 
Leech and Tenniel. 

Does it not speak well for the good sense and good digestion 
of these men that in all these hundreds and thousands of skits 
— satires going by their -sery nature into personal motives and 
perhaps into private actions — that the lapses and the mistakes 
have been nearly as rare as great auks' eggs ? Mr. Gladstone had 
good reason to say, as he did one day at dinner, that " in his 
earlv days, when an artist was engaged to produce political satires, 
he nearlv always descended to gross personal caricature, and 
sometimes to indecency. To-day he noted in the humorous press 
(speaking more particularl}' of Punch) a total absence of wX- 
garitv and a fairer treatment, which made this department of 
warfare always pleasing" — which is all very true if we admit 
that the function of ridicule and banter as political weapons is 
to be merely ** pleasing." At any rate, if it be so, it is the knell 
of all great satire — with the corresponchng effect of making the 
more caustic and grosser sides of men like Swift impossible. Yet, 
on the other hand, so late as 1S60, according to Sir Theodore 
]Martin, Punch more than any other paper reflected the national 
feeling in such matters as our naval defences ; so that in its 
support of Lord L}Tidhurst in his patriotic agitation it greatly 
assisted in strengthening the hands of the Government. 

It is interesting, when you know your Punch as you should 
your Bible, to lean back in your chair and recall the most 
striking and important among the three thousand designs, more 
or less, that stand out as landmarks in Punch's pages. 

The first, of course, for association's sake, is that pageful 

Leech's First "■Big Cut." 173 

of "Foreign Affairs" which introduced Leech to Punch's 
readers. It appeared in the fourth number, on August 7th, 
1841. The ''Foreign Affairs" consist chiefly of groups of 
foreign refugees to be seen at that time, and even now in some 
measure, in the \-icinity of Soho and Leicester Square — the 
pohtical scum of Paris ("Parisites," may they not be called?) 
and of Berlin. The scroll bearing the title in the middle of 
the page is fully signed, with the addition of the artist's sign- 
manual, which was aftenvards to become known throughout 
the whole artistic and laughter-lo-ving world — a leech wriggling 
in a water-bottle. This debut did little justice to Percival 
Leigh's introduction, for the block was delivered so late that, 
containing as it did a considerable amount of work, it made 
it impossible for the engi'aver to finish it in time for the 
ordinary- publishing hour. The usual means of pubhcation and 
despatch were consequently missed, and the result was a ver}- 
serious fall in that week's circulation. For some time after 
that Leech drew no more, learning meanwhile the elementary 
lesson that large blocks take longer to cut than small ones — or, 
at least, did then, before Charles Wells had introduced his 
ojeat invention of a block that could be taken to pieces in 
order that each small square might be given to different hands 
to ensrave. Nevertheless, even to the end Leech alwavs had 
a tendencv to be late with his cartoons, and half ]Mark Lemon's 
time, according to Edmimd Yates and others, was passed in 
hansom-cabs bowHng awa}- to Xotting Hill, Brunswick Square, 
or to Kensington,' where in succession Leech resided. 

Yet he could be astonishingly rapid when he liked, and 
often would he complete a cartoon on the wood while his 
Editor smoked a cigar at his elbow. Such a drawing— such a 
feat— was that remarkable block of "L'Empire c'est la Paix" 
(1859), representing Louis Xapoleon as a hedgehog bristling 
with bavonets, admirable in expression and execution, yet not 
original in idea — though it is as likely as not that Leech had 
never seen, or else had forgotten, the cartoon in the " Puppet 
Show" (June, 1854"), wherein the Tsar Nicholas appears in a 
manner precisely similar. The Dinner had by exception been 
held on Thursckiv < March loth, 1S59) instead of on the pre\ious 

174 The History of "Punch." 

day ; every moment was precious ; and Leech proposed the 
idea for the cartoon, drew it in two hours, and caught his 
midday train on the following day, speeding away into the 
country with John Tenniel for their usual Saturda}' hunt. 

But in accordance with that strange law of memory that 
horror, ugliness, and power should spring to the mind before 
humour, grace, or beauty, it is the tragic side and passionate 
purpose of Punch's career as shown in his cartoons that first 
arise in one's recollection. And it is (with but one or two 
exceptions) exclusively in his cartoons that Leech showed his 
tragic power. "The Poor Man's Friend" (1845), in which 
Death, gaunt and grisly, ■ comes to the relief of a wretch in 
the very desolation of misery and poverty, tells as much in 
one page as Jerrold's pen, with all its strength and intensity, 
could 'make us feel in a score. Ten years later the same 
idea was splendidly developed and magnificentl}' realised in 
the cartoon entitled " General Fevrier turned Traitor," which 
not more than once or twice in the whole of Punch's history 
has been surpassed either in loftiness of conception or depth 
of tragedv, or in the tremendous effect that immediately 
attended its publication throughout the country. 

During the Crimean War the winter of 1854-55 was 
terrible in its severit}', and the sufferings of our soldiers were 
appalling. The suspense at home increased the country's 
emotion as to the terrors they knew of in the field. The 
callous statement of the Tsar, therefore, about that time 
reported, that " Russia has two generals in whom she can 
confide — Generals Janvier and Fevrier," struck indignation 
and disgust into every British soul. On February 2nd the 
news arrived of the death of the Emperor. Popular excite- 
ment was intense. Consols rose 2 per cent., and the foreign 
market was in a state of such confusion that brokers refused 
to cite even a nominal quotation. Eight days later appeared 
Leech's cartoon, with its double meaning of superb power, 
though it was, no doubt, not the most favourable specimen of 
the draughtsman's art. Received by most with wild enthusiasm, 
bv others with condemnation as a cruel use of a cruel fate, 
it none the less electrified the countrv. " Never," writes 

A Tremendous Cartoon. 175 

Mr. Frith, "can I forget the impression that Leech's drawing 

{Reduced from the Cartoon by John Leech. '''Punch" loth February, 1S55.) 

made upon me ! There lay the Tsar, a noble figure in 
death, as he was in life, and by his side a stronger King 

176 The History of ''Punch." 

than he — a bony figure, in General's uniform, snow-be- 
sprinkled, who ' beckons him awa}^' Of all Leech's work, 
this seems to be the finest example. Think how savage 
Gillray or A'ulgar Rowlandson would have handled such a 
theme ! — the Emperor would have been caricatured into a 
repulsive monster, and Death would have lost his terrors." 

Ruskin compares this cartoon for impressiveness in the 
perfect manifestation of the grotesque and caricature in art 
with Hood's " Song of the Shirt " in poetry. '' The reception 
of the last-named wood-cut," says he, '' was in several 
respects a curious test of modern feeling. . . . There are 
some points to be regretted in the execution of the design, 
but the thought was a gi'and one ; the memory of the word 
spoken and of its answer, could hardly in any more impres- 
sive wa}^ have been recorded for the people ; and I believe 
that to all persons accustomed to the earnest forms of art 
it contained a profound and touching lesson. The notable 
thing was, however, that it offended persons not in earnest, 
and was loudly cried out against by the polite journalism of 
Society. This fate is, I believe, the almost inevitable one of 
thoroughly genuine work in these days, whether poetry or 
painting ; but what added to the singularity in this case was 
that coarse heartlessness was even more offended than polite 

Just before this Tenniel had given us a fine drawing of 
England and France — the new allies — as typified by two 
splendid specimens of Guards of both nations, standing back 
to back in friendly rivalry of height ; and the cut achieved 
such popularity that, under its title of "The United Service," 
it was reproduced broadcast on many articles of use, and 
decorated the backs of playing-cards. 

The following year Sir John Tenniel (who though hardly more 
convincing than Leech, yet by his power of draughtsmanship 
and bigness of conception could be far more imposing) pro- 
duced the earliest of his magnificent studies of what may 
be called his "Animal Types" in "The British Lion Smells 
a Rat" (1856). This heralded what are in some respects his 
masterpieces, the Cawnpore cartoons (1857), the chief of which 

Cawnpore and American Cartoons. 177 

is " The British Lion's Vengeance on the Bengal Tiger." Once 
this fine drawing is seen, of the royal beast springing on its 
snarling foe, whose victims lie mangled under its paw, it can 
never be forgotten. It is a double-page cartoon, splendidly 
wrought by the artist at the suggestion of Shirley Brooks ; and 
while it responded and gave expression to the feelings of 
revenge which agitated England at the awful events that had 
passed at the time of the Indian Mutiny, and served as a 
banner when the}- raised the cry of vengeance, it alarmed the 
authorities, who feared that the}' would thereby be forced on 
a road which both policy and the gentler dictates of civilisation 
forbade. Vengeance was the cry ; and the wise and humane 
counsels of Lord Canning met only with contempt and anger, 
and rendered him the most unpopular man of the dav. 

Soon it was Tenniel's destiny to shine alone in the cartoons 
of Punch. Leech, in the last few years of his life, tired with 
the strain of over-work and ill-health, withdrew more and more 
from the making of "big cuts," till towards the end thev were 
left almost entirely in the hands of his well-loved colleague. 
Tenniel rose to the position and tq_the full height of the great 
events that courted his pencil. .-The great American struggle of 
North and South gave unlimitedopportunity, and for four vears 
Punch, first taking sides hotly against slave-trading, became 
at times simply pedagogic in his attitude towards both the 
combatants. From the time (January 26th, 1861) when there 
was published *' ]\Irs. Carolina asserting her Right to Larrup 
her Nigger," down to the crowning cartoon of "Habet" — the 
combatants as gladiators before the enthroned and imperial 
negroes (" Ave Cccsar ! " ) — many fine cartoons were issued ; but 
the last-named has been held by manv to be the finest that has 
ever issued from the artist's pencil. But, in sentiment at least, 
a greater was to come — one which helped to melt for us in a 
measure the hardened heart of the American nation, at that time 
distrustful of England, and righteously indignant at many a taunt 
that had been launched against her. This was the affecting 
picture of Britannia's tribute and Pniich's amende honorable, 
called simply, " Abraham Lincoln : Foully Assassinated April 
14th, 18657'i while Shirley Brooks's verses which accompany 

1/8 The History of "Punch." 

them take highest rank among poetry of its kind — hnes which, 




.' '■ , ''^y 










r- ' 


- ^ 



From the " Scene de Triomphe" in the Grand Anglo-Turkish Ballet d' Action. 
{The Finished Sketch by Sir John Tenniel for the Cartoon in '^ Punch,' yd August, 1878.) 

rugged perhaps in themselves, come straight from the heart, ancl^ 
speak to a whole nation with true emotion and deep sincerity 

Mrs. Gummidge-Gladstone. 179 

Then came "A Leap in the Dark" (1867) — Britannia on 
her hunter, Dizzy, "going bhnd" through the hedge of Reform ; 
and soon after the series on the Franco-Prussian War and 
the situation that immediately preceded the outbreak of 
hostihties, more particularly that (proposed by Mr. du Maurier) 
in which the shade of the great Napoleon stands warninglv in 
the path of the infatuated Emperor ; while those that illustrated 
the close of the struggle, aroused a deeper sympath}- for France 
than all the leading-articles and descriptive essays put together. 
Tenniel's hell-hounds of war, who menace the fallen figure 
of France distraught, are again seen in the series, almost as 
fine, that accompanied and followed the Russo-Turkish struggle. 
A few months later heroics were once more set aside for 
humour, and the celebrated cartoon representing the successful 
termination of the Berlin Treaty was given forth — " The Pas 
de Dcu.x " (1878) — in which Lords Beaconsfield and Salisbury in 
official dress are executing their pas de triomphe with character- 
istic grace and ineffable mock-seriousness of mien. 

Another cartoon that attracted general attention for its 
exquisite fooling, and that still haunts the mind of those who 
can appreciate a completely happy adaptation of text to subject 
and situation, is "The Political ' Mrs. Gummidge ' " (May, 1885). 
Mr. Gladstone, as Mrs. Gummidge, sits in the Peggotty boat- 
house by the fire, on which a pot of Russian stew is simmering, 
while her knitting, marked " Egypt," has fallen 4rom her 
weary hands, and, the very picture of misery, moans out : " I 
ain't what I could wish to be. My troubles make me con- 
trairy. I feel my troubles, and they make me contrairy. 
I make the House uncomfortable. I don't wonder at it ! ! ! " 
To which Mr. John Peggotty-Bull, pointing with his pipe- 
stem at the portrait of Beaconsfield on the wall, mutters 
(deeply sympathising, aside), " She's been thinking of the old 
'un ! " It was proposed by Mr. Burnand. 

But Sir John Tenniel's gi-eatest success of all in recent years 
— artistically and popularly successful — is undoubtedly the gi'eat 
picture illustrative of Prince Bismarck's resignation in 1889, entitled 
" Dropping the Pilot." The subject, it may be stated, was not 
a suggestion made at the Table, but it was handed in from the 
M 2 

i8o The History of ''Punch." 

late Gilbert Arthur a Beckett, who was too ill to attend the 
Dinner — (he died very soon after) — and who thus, as so many 
other Punch contributors have done — Thomas Hood, Artemus 
Ward, Leech, Gilbert Abbott a Beckett, Charles Bennett, and 
others — sent in one of the most valuable of all his suggestions 
just as his career was drawing to its close. The idea was imme- 
diately accepted, and its excellence fully appreciated. It was 
decided that it should occupy a double-page; and Sir John 
Tenniel, who has always risen to a great occasion, did the fullest 
justice to the subject. When the paper was sent round to the 
Staff, as it always is, on the Monday night, they foresaw with 
delight that here was a great coup, and their con\-iction received 
ample confirmation on the publishing-day from the countr}" at 
large. There was a world of pathos in the weather-beaten old 
mariner who goes thoughtfulh', full of doubt and care, down 
the side of the ship he had originally designed and had since 
piloted so long and so well — now discharged as no longer 
wanted ; and there was a world of meaning in the ambitious 
and self-reliant young Commander who looks over the ship's 
bulwark and gazes at the bent figure of his departing coun- 
sellor. The cartoon, said Mr. Smalley, pleased equally the 
Emperor and the Prince, for there was that in it which both 
felt and sought for. The original sketch for the drawing on 
the wood was finished by the artist as a commission from 
Lord Roseberv, who then presented it to Prince Bismarck. 
In acknowledging the drawing the ex-Chancellor declared, " It 
is indeed a fine one!" "The Hidden Hand" — a criticism on 
Irish political crime and its incitement — was another of Gil- 
bert a Beckett's most striking suggestions. It appears on p. 103, 
Vol. LXXXIV., 1883. 

Xext I would mention — besides ]Mr. Sambourne's admirable 
Jubilee picture of "The Mahogany Tree," in which the Pro- 
prietors and Statf are gathered round the Table as thev toast 
triumphant Punch {sec Frontispiece) — another cartoon which, 
nobly conceived, if not quite so fine in execution, under the 
title of "Forlorn Hope" (October, 1893— proposed by Mr. 
Milliken), has been held by some as second only to " Drop- 
ping the Pilot." It is the pathetic picture of jNIr. Gladstone 

Other Notable Cartoons. 


at the moment of his retirement leading the attack against 
the House of Lords. A grand old fortress crowning an 







l STirr. 







(The finished Sketch by Sir John Tetmiel for the ''''Punch" Cartoon, ind May, 1885. By 
Pcriiiissioji of Gilbert E. Satmtel, Esg.) 

enormous cliff stands out strongly in evening light against the 
distant sky, and the grand old waiTior, in coat of mail, is 

1 82 The History of ''Punch." 

struggling up the steep and slippery side — a hopeless task, 
eloquent of the courage of despair. 

Last of all upon this list, on May 15th, 1895, was the 
grand design, also suggested by Mr. Milliken, entitled " The 
Old Crusaders ! " — Mr, Gladstone and the Duke of Argyll 
" brothers-in-arms again " in their crusade against the Turkish 
persecutions in Christian Armenia — the full significance being 
insisted on by parallel dates — ''Bulgaria 1876 : Armenia 1895." 
There is an air of unsurpassable dignity in the design of the 
two old comrade-statesmen, mounted knights armed cap a pie, 
riding forth, representative of Christendom and the nation's 
conscience. Immediately on seeing the week's Punch the 
Marquis of Lome telegraphed from Windsor to Sir John 
Tenniel, asking to be allowed to acquire the original draw- 
ing ; but he had been forestalled by the other Champion's 
son, Mr. Henry Gladstone, who was then in town, and 
had secured the prize for his family an hour or two 

It must not be imagined that the Punch cartoons have 
alwavs been matters, so to speak, of routine. The un- 
expected has more than once left Punch in a terribly 
awkward fix. On one occasion, in 1877, it was confidently 
expected that Lord Beaconsfield's Government would be 
thrown out on the Monday night or Tuesday morning, 
when, of course, it would be too late to begin to think 
of drawing and engraving a cartoon ; besides, the niatter was 
a foregone conclusion. So Beaconsfield was represented 
in his robes, leaning back ''in a heap" upon his bench, his 
chin on his breast, and his hands thrust deep into his breeches 
pockets, the very picture of a beaten Minister. But, as it 
happened, the Government was not defeated — and there was 
the cartoon ! Pro^•identially, however, the Government had 
been severely badgered about some matter of trivial im- 
portance, such as the amount of sealing-wax employed in 
Her Majesty's Stationery Office, and the cartoon was used 
with a legend to the effect : " After all the big things I have 
been in, to be pulled up for tJiis !" The public wondered, 
and thought that Punch had taken the situation a little too 

Perversity of Events. 183 

seriously ; but it was a pis-alkr, and the best had been made 
of a shocking bad job. 

jVIr. Linley Sambourne, writing on this very matter in the 
" Magazine of Art," tells something more of Punch's tribulations : 
" Difficulties in the production of cartoons sometimes arise 
in the impossibilities of foretelling what, not a day only, 
but a week may bring forth. In December, 1871, when His 
Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, to the profound sorrow 
of the entire nation, hovered between life and death, Tenniel 
drew two cartoons, to be used as events might dictate. To 
the intense relief and joy of all, the one that was issued was 
called ' Suspense,' with some beautiful verses entitled ' Queen, 
People, and Princess: "Three Hearts in One";' while the 
other, a grief-stricken figure of Britannia, lay almost forgotten 
in the engraver's bureau, but was remembered, and had un- 
happily occasion to appear thirteen years after, on April 5th, 
1884, to note the sudden loss of His Royal Highness the Duke 
of Albany. Punch is not infallible. The most serious slip he 
ever made in the ' cock-sure ' line was a cartoon appearing 
on February 7th, 1885, representing the lamented General 
Gordon shaking hands with General ^r Henry Stewart (who 
himself lay stiff and cold after glorious action) inside the fated 
citv of Khartoum. When the number appeared (although at 
the moment unconfirmed), Gordon himself had been butchered 
by the Mahdi's fanatics ; and another whole week had to 
elapse before it could be corrected by a cartoon of bafiied 
Britannia, with the heading ' Too Late ! ' I well remember 
being inside a picture gallery in Bond Street with the Editor, 
and hearing newsboys shouting without ; the Editor turned 
to me and smilingly said, ' All right for our cut. There ! they're 
shouting "The fall of Khartoum" !' When we got outside, 
our faces fell on finding the boot was on the other leg with 
a vengeance." 

A more recent example of the tricks played upon Punch 
by Fate was on August irth, 1894 (p. 66, Vol. CVH.), when Sir 
William Harcourt was represented as an artilleryman mowing 
down the host of amendments put upon the paper against 
the Irish Evictions Bill with a Catling gun labelled " Closure." 

184 The History of ''Punch." 

Closure had, indeed, been promised, and upon that the cartoon 
was based ; but the Tory tactics threw out all calculations, 
for the party declined to move their amendments, and took 
no further part in the proceedings, so that there was no 
question whatever of closure. The Bill passed en bloc, and 
the Catling remained silent. 

Finally, there is that class of cartoon always graceful in 
intention, and invariabl}^ received by the public with respect 
and approval — the Obituary Cartoon. It was invented by 
Punch when Wellington died. The nation was overpowered 
with a sense of its loss, and Punch, with his finger, as ever, 
on the public pulse, reflected the national emotion with a 
deep and noble sincerit}^ that was gratefully felt and recognised. 
From that day onwards the great occasions of a people's loss 
— either of our own mourning or of our sympath)- with that of 
others — have been touched with a dignity and grace in accord 
with their lofty and solemn purpose, in drawings which have 
rarely failed to touch a responsive chord in the people's heart, 
and which, judged as compositions, have often marked the 
highest point to which Sir John Tenniel's art has reached. 




Origin and Growth of the Cartoon— Origin of its Name— Its Reflection of Popular 
Opinion— Source of PuncWs Power— Punch' s Downrightness oflends France- 
Germany— And Russia— Lord Augustus Loftus's Fix— Lord John Russell 
and " No Popery "—Mr. Gladstone and Professor Ruskin on Punch's Car- 
toons—Their Effect on :Mr. Disraeli— His Advances and Magnanimity — 
Rough Handling of Lord Brougham— Sir Robert Peel— Lord Palmerston's 
Straw— Mr. Bright's Eye-glass— Difficulties of Portraiture— John Bull alias 
Mark Lemon — Sir John Tenniel's Types. 

Were }-ou to ask the Editor, Staff, or Proprietors of Pie?ic/i 
whether they regarded the political or the social section of the 
paper as the more important, fi-om the public point ot view and 
their own, the answer would probably be— that they could not 
tell you. Power and popularity, exen in a newspaper— r^/rr/rtZ/y 
in a newspaper — are not synonymous terms, and a great circula- 
tion does not necessarily carry influence along with it. It may 
safely be taken that while the social section of Punch, artistic and 
literar}' combined, earned for him his vast popularity, his power, 
which at one time was great almost beyond present belief, was 
obtained chiefly by his political satires with pen and pencil. 
Nowadays, no doubt, their relative importance is more evenly 
balanced, and what preponderating interest the cartoon may have 
for ''Pater" is equalled by the special fascination exercised 
b}' the social picture over "familias." 

It has been the mission of Punch, as of many another great 
and original writer, to invent and import into the language 
words and expressions which are surely destined to remain. It 
has already been recorded how it was he who christened the 
great conservatory now at Sydenham "The Ciystal Palace" 
— though he was not so complimentary until he had cultivated 
the personal friendship of Sir Joseph Paxton over the " Daily 
News" affair. It is he who, in his most laconic manner, has 

1 86 The History of "Punch." 

given his immortal counsel for all time to intending inaries ; it 
is he who has crystallised the exaggerated idea of Scottish thrift 
and economy in "bang went saxpence " — to the circumstances 
of all of which I have already referred. Mr. Punch, in short, 
has left the English language richer than he found it, not only 
in word, but in idea. So, again, the present application of the 
word "cartoon" is in realit}' a creation of Punch' s. 

At the birth of the modern satirical print — that is to say, in 
the reign of Charles I. — we see it called " A Mad Designe ; " 
eighty years later, when George II. was King, it was known 
as a " hieroglyphic ; " and then onwards, through the caustic 
and venomous days of the mighty Gillray and Rowlandson, 
and even of George Cruikshank, and their contemporaries, 
" caricature " was the term applied to the separate copper-plate 
broadsides that were issued, crudely coloured, from the famous 
shops of Mrs. Humphreys, of Ackermann, of Fores, and of 
McLean, and displayed in their windows to the delight and 
savage applause of a laughing crowd. Then "¥B" had followed, 
Dicky Doyle's clever father, whose political lithographs had 
begun to appear in 1830, and continued until 1851 — ceased, that 
is to say, when Punch was ten years old. The wonder about 
them was that, even before the days of photography, the 
likenesses of his subjects were so admirable, and his thrusts 
so happy, while his art, criticised strictly, was so very poor 
and amateurish. But as exaggeration found no trace in his 
designs, and his compositions aimed at raising little more than 
a suspicion of a smile in the beholder (save in the subjects 
of them), the word "cartoon" was more applicable to them 
than to any that preceded or have followed them. Mr. 
Austin Dobson, it is true, speaks of them as " caricatures ; " 
but their publisher more correctly defined them as " Political 

Then, after the little wood-cut "caricatures" by Robert 
Seymoiu", came Punch with his full-page designs. Announced 
also as " caricatures," for a long while they were known as 
" pencillings ; " but it was some time before they became an 
invariable feature of the paper. For several consecutive weeks, 
indeed, in 1843 there was no full-page cut at all, until John 

Ironical Origin of the Term ''Cartoon." 187 

Leech recommenced them with a series of "■ Social Miseries," 
the first of which represented " Thoughts during Pastorale." 
But the most successful and the best remembered was " The 
Pleasures of Folding Doors" when "The Battle of Prague" is 
being thumped out relentlessly on the other side. 

Now in July of 1843 the first great exhibition of cartoons for 
the Houses of Parliament was held. These gigantic designs 
handled the loftiest subjects, executed in the most elevated spirit 
of the highest art, with a view to ultimate execution in fresco on 
the walls of the palace of Westminster. It was not in nature for 
Punch to allow so excellent an opportunity to pass by without 
taking sarcastic advantage of it. He — conformably with his n'^le 
of Sir Oracle, omniscient and omnifarious — must have his "car- 
toons " too ; and so on p. 22 of the second volume for the same 
year (No. 105 of the journal) he appeared with No. i of his 
series. It was from Leech's pencil, entitled "Substance and 
Shadow," with the legend " The Poor ask for Bread, and the 
Philanthropy of the State accords— an Exhibition." The cartoon 
represents a humble crowd of needy visitors to the exhibition 
of pictures on a suggested " free day," in accordance with the 
recommendation of the Government. This design, a suggestion 
of Jerrold's, affords an excellent example of the wami-hearted, 
wrong-headed sympathy with the poor which led him so often 
cruellv to misjudge and misrepresent the acts and li\-es of 
persons in authority whose views were not, like his own, 
spontaneously, kindly, and impulsively unpractical. The series 
of six cartoons was directed against abuses, the last, dealing 
with the subject of duelling, being entitled " The Satisfaction 
of a Gentleman" — in which two duellists appear attended by 
seconds wearing caps and bells, v^•hile the hangman awaits the 
victor in one corner, and Death digs a grave for his ^•ictim in the 

After this series Punch for a long while dropped the word 
"cartoon," but the public remembered it, and has clung to 
it ever since. It is a remarkable thing that while the 
"Encyclopaedic Dictionary" entirely ignores the word in its 
modern application to satirical prints, Dr. Murray's monu- 
mental lexicon has as its earliest use of the word a reference 

1 88 The History of ''Punch." 

made by Miss Braddon to Leech's cartoons in the year 1863 — 
or twenty years after it was first coined ! 

But the very first number of Punch, as we have seen, 
rejoiced in a cartoon as we now understand it — that is to 
say, a large full-page or double-page block of a satirical 
nature, usually placed in the middle opening of the paper, 
and for the most part still further dignified by being " un- 
backed " by other printing. It has been stated that Henry 
Mayhew at the very beginning insisted on this being a 
special feature of the paper, defeating the opposition of 
"Daddy" Landells, who was all for a number of little 
" coots," as he pronounced them, sprinkled plentifully over 
the pages. But inasmuch as Landells was an engraver, who 
would have delighted in the opportunity offered to his 
apprentices by a "big cut," as he was anxious above all things 
to follow the Paris "Charivari" (the very rai&on d'etre of 
which was the large political cartoon), and as, moreover, 
the original " dummy " of the paper makes provision for 
such a cartoon, the statement is not to be accepted. 

It was really a poor thing, that first cartoon — " Candidates 
under Different Phases ; " but it possessed over the little 
"caricatures" by Robert Seymour in Gilbert a Beckett's 
"Figaro in London," that had gone before, the important 
advantage of size. It was smaller than the hideouslv vulgar 
cuts in the "Penny Satirist," but — in tone, at least — this hami- 
less satire on Parliamentary candidates displayed a refresh- 
ing and a highly appreciated decency and moderation. And 
since that time, whether satirical or frankh' funny, sarcastic 
or witty, compassionate or denunciatory, eulogistic, sym- 
pathetic, indignant, or merely expository, the cartoons have 
rarely overstepped the boundary of good-taste, or done aught 
but express fearlessly, honestly, and so far as may be grace- 
fully, the popular feeling of the moment. 

It is just this happy ability of Punch's to reflect the opinion 
of the country that gave it the great power it attained and won 
it the respect of every successive Government. It is true that 
of late years Mr. Punch has rather followed public opinion 
than led it ; and it is equally true that he now represents 

''Punch's" Influence with Politicians. 189 

ci higher stratum of society than at first, when Jerrold 
week after week pleaded the cause of the poor. Yet the 
Governments of the day might have apphed to him Addison's 
words — 

'' In all th}" humours, whether grave or mellow, 
Thou'rt such a touchy, testy, pleasant fellow ; 

Hast so much wit and mirth and spleen about thee. 
There is no living with thee, nor without thee" — 

and esteemed themseh'es happ}- when Punch smiled upon 
them. " What Punch says" appears to be a good deal to the 
Great Ones of our world, thick-skinned though they be ; for 
even outside politics, they have, generally speaking, accepted as 
an axiom "Vox Punchii, vox Populi;" while Cabinet ^Ministers, 
from the Premier downwards, have hoped from his bene- 
volence and feared from his hostility 1 When Mr. Mundella 
publicly declared that "Punch is almost the most dangerous 
antagonist that a politician could have opposed to him — for 
mvself I would rather have Punch at my back in an}- poli- 
tical or social undertaking than half the politicians of the 
House of Commons," he was merely expressing a conviction 
on the part of statesmen that many of them have given 
evidence of. It is another proof of the power of the 
caricaturist — a very proper respect for the smile which brings 
popularity and for the ridicule which kills. 

We all know the effect of Gillray's, Rowlandson's, and 
George Cruikshank's etching-needles upon their victims — 
how these latter would writhe under a stab that was 
often ^■irulent in its brutality, merciless, scurrilous, and 
cruel. \Ye know how money passed — at least, in their earlier 
years— to influence the political opinions of the caricaturists, 
iess in the hope of damaging " the other side " than with 
the view to diluting with a little milk of human kindness 
their etchers' aquafortis ; and we know how Cruikshank's 
sudden abandonment- of political caricature has been gener- 
ally attributed (without drawing forth any denial) to a very 
special communication of a remunerative sort from Windsor 
Castle. That, however, was owing rather to his remorseless 

190 The History of ''Punch!' 

gibbeting of the follies and scandals of the Court than to 
political attack or personal persecution ; but other circum- 
stances of a more serious, because of an international, character 
have now and again attended the publication of a caricature. 
For example, like the HB-Talleyrand episode, Leech's famous 
cartoon of " Cock-a-doodle-do ! " (February 13th, 1858) pro- 
mised at one time — less directly, it is true — to bring unpleasant 
consequences in its train. In the spirit of the Prince de 
Joinville, whose bombastic language towards England -in 1848 
had set an example not to be resisted, were the fire-eating 
words of a few French officers, who offered to " unsheathe their 
swords and place them at their sovereign's disposal," and so 
forth. Leech replied with a cartoon of a GaUic cock, capped and 
spurred, flapping its epaulettes and crowing its loudest, while 
Napoleon the Third curses the " Crowing Colonel " under 
his breath. '' Diable !" he says, "the noisy bird will awake 
my neighbour ; " and the point is emphasised by a quota- 
tion from the Moniteur. The hit, if not quite original (for 
Doyle had made a precisely similar sketch of " Le Coq 
Gaulois " twelve years before in "The Almanac of the Month") 
was, at any rate, a fair one. But some unscrupulous British 
patriot so took the matter into his own scuny hands that 
the following advertisement was published in " The Times " 
of March loth : — 

'■' Fifty Pounds Reward.— ll having come to the knowledge of 
the Committee of the Army and Navy Club that a caricature, 
with most coarse and vulgar language appended thereto, was sent 
to an officer in command of a French regiment, accompanied with 
a forged message from the club, the above reward will, within six 
weeks from this date, be paid by the Secretary of the Club on 
the conviction and punishment of the offender." 

And so the affair was amicably settled, but not before 
correspondence of a lively character had passed between both 
the insulted parties, and it was feared that the matter might 
be taken up as "an insult to the French Amiy." 

Many a time has Punch been excluded ft-om France — begin- 
ning as early as February nth, 1843 — by reason of his political 

The French Emperor is Offended. 191 

cuts. In the first half-volume for that year a cartoon entitled 
" PiDuh turned out of France " — showing a A'ery sea-sick puppet 
received on Boulogne quay at the point of a bayonet — first made 
public the severity of his struggle with Louis IMiilippe. There is 
no doubt that his denunciations approached about as near to 
scurrility as ever he was guilt}' of; and it is equally true that 
the French King winced under the attacks made with such 
acerbit}' upon his well-known parsimon\-. In due time, on 
April 7th, the embargo was lifted, but again in the following 
year an article by Thackeray, entitled " A Case of Real Dis- 
tress," in which Punch offers to open a subscription for the poor 
beggar, with a cut b}' the same hand representing the King as 
a ** Pauvre Malheureux," had the effect of a fresh exclusion. 
Punch responded vigorously, his first proceeding being to 
advertise, '' Wanted — A Few Bold Smugglers " in order that 
he " may continue to disseminate the civilisation of his pages 
throughout benighted France." 

And so on several occasions, especially during the period 
of his long hostility to Napoleon III., was Piinch turned back 
from the French frontier, though later on the authorities per- 
mitted him to enter, on the condition that, like a Mahometan 
who leaves his slippers at the temple door, he tore out his 
cartoon before he passed inside. Of late years, however, Punch 
has on the whole been on excellent terms with " Mme. la 
Republique," chiefly through his own forbearance during the 
period of what promised to be the Anglo-Congolese Difficulty. 
It is true that the cartoon of November, 1894, showing the 
French Wolf about to spring upon the Madagascar Lamb, 
aroused fine indignation in Paris at this English version of the 
methods of French colonial expansion; and that the famous 
picture of Marshal ]\IacMahon of a score of years before, 
in which the President was shown stuck fast in the political 
mud, obstinately satisfied with his impossible position (" J'y 
suis ! — J'y reste ! " ? ), gave equal offence on the boulevards ; 
and although in the latter case the fairness of the hit was 
acknowledged, Punch was again, as he had several times 
recently been, placed under ban. Again, at the time of 
the Franco- Russian rapprochcmenl and consequent fetes, the 

192 The History of ''Punch." 

drawing of the Bear and Republic in cordial tete-d-tete, the 
former disclosing the true source and object of his new- 
found affection b}^ hinting, with a sly wink and a smirk, 
about a "little loan," gave rise to real anger, and was 
deeply resented — probably with the more anno3'ance that the 
cutting truth with which Punch had hit off the situation 
was secretly and unwillingly recognised. But save on one 
occasion no official expulsion or repulse has in recent times 
been Punclis lot. Moreover, his splendid series of cartoons, 
noblv conceived and full of generous S3'mpathy, which he 
published towards the close of the Franco-Prussian War, are 
still remembered with some approach to gi"atitude in a country 
which has rarely, if ever, returned us the compliment of kindli- 
ness or friendship, or even of courtesy, in its satiric press. 

Even in Gemiany, though Punch has not often been denied 
admittance, he has had at least one distinguished door closed 
against him. This was when in March, 1892 (p. no in the first 
half-vearlv volume), Mr. Linley Sambourne's ''cartoon junior" 
was published, satirising the German Emperor in " Tlie Modern 
Alexander's Feast ; or, The Power of Sound " — 

" With ravished ears 
The Monarch hears ; 
Assumes the god, 
Affects to nod, 
And seems to shake the spheres." 

The German Army Bill agitation — the struggle between Em- 
peror and Reichstag, which was followed with so much interest 
in England— was then at its height ; and the monarch had no 
mind for trivialities. Piincli s candour in illustrating the title 
given him in this country of " The Shouting Emperor," so it is 
alleged, annoyed him. " For nearly forty years," said one 
authoritv, " Punch has been regularly taken in at the Prussian 
royal palaces in Berlin and Potsdam. The Emperor William 
has just issued a private order that Punch is to be struck 
off the list of journals which are supplied to him ; and the 
Empress Frederick, Prince Henry of Prussia, and all the 
members of the Roval Familv who are in the habit of 

The Germ am Emperor Displeased. 193 

reading English journals, have been desired by their aristo- 
cratic relation to discontinue the obnoxious periodical. It 
is understood at Berlin that the Emperor's wrath has been 
excited by some jocular allusions to his Majesty's oratorical 
indiscretions which recently appeared in Punch." If the 
members of the Imperial Famih- scrupulously obeyed the 
alleged command, they lost the enjoyment of a hearty laugh 
over Punch's retort — for it is Punch's habit always to retort in 
matters of this sort when his fun is misunderstood or his irony, 
in his opinion, taken in ill-part. This was the much-talked-of 
"Wilful Wilhelm" — representing the Emperor, a la Struuwel- 
peter, as a passionate fractious child, screaming amid his toy 
soldiers and drums : 

" Take the nasty Punch away ; 
I won't have anv Punch to-day." 

Nor would he leave him alone for a while ; but returning a 
year later to the charge, and taking as a text the Emperor's 
w^ords — 

" It was impossible for me to anticipate the rejection of the 
Army Bills, so fullv did I rely upon the patriotism of the Imperial 
Diet to accept them unreservedly- A patriotic minority has been 
unable to prevail against the majority. ... I was compelled to 
resort to a dissolution, and I look forward to the acceptance of the 
Bills by the new Reichstag. Should this expectation be again 
disappointed, I am determined to use ever}- means in ni}- power to 
achieve m}- purpose. . . .'' 

Punch promptly produced his cartoon a third time, by ]\Ir, 
Sambourne's pencil, of '' Xana would not give me a bow- 
wow ! — A Pretty Little Song for Pettish Little Emperors," as 
the latest Teutonic version of the music-hall ditty then in vogue. 
And later on there was Sir John Tenniel's contribution to the 
pretty little quarrel, in which in "Alexander and Diogenes" 
(October, 1893) fl^^ Emperor asks, "Is there anything I can 
do for you ? Castle ? or anything of that sort ? " and Bismarck- 
Diogenes grunts his reply, " Xo — only leave me to my tub !" 
But the Emperor's anger did not last long — if it ever existed at 
all — for it was announced that he again received his Punch 


194 The History of ''Punch." 

regularly, but, to save appearances, it arrived from London 
ever}" week in an official-looking envelope, which was opened 
by the Kaiser's own hands, and by him dul}' stowed away in his 

If Punch, by his outspoken criticism, has succeeded in raising 
the ire of two of the most civilised of the Great Powers, it was 
not to be expected that he should escape the blacking-roller of 
the Russian censor of the press. The touchiness of that official 
does credit rather to his zeal than to his judgment — and, besides, 
he is obviously no humorist. The Russians have had little oppor- 
tunity of learning what is thought of them and their governors 
at %'^, Fleet Street. Time after time has the cartoon been de- 
stroyed ; and Mr. Sambourne, journeying in the countr}^, learned 
by personal experience that Moscow and St. Petersburg were 
not as London and Paris. "Should it happen," he writes, "that 
any cartoon or cut at all trenched on Russian subjects, and 
especially his Majesty the Tsar, the page was either torn out or 
erased in the blackest manner by the Bear's paw. I have seen 
some of Mr. Tenniel's cartoons so maltreated, and have myselt 
been frequentlv honoured in the same way." It is therefore 
rather amusing that while such drawings as Sir John Tenniel 
produced when the great Nihilistic wave was sweeping over 
Russia, just before the renewed application of the repressive 
S3'stem during the reign of Alexander III. and during the horrors 
of the Jewish persecutions, Punch would appear on the Tsar's 
table with cartoons far more severe and humiliating than the 
majorit}' of those which appealed to the censor's sense of 
despotism. Of this Lord Augustus Loftus gives a remarkable 
example — remarkable, too, for the Ambassador's diplomatic 
ingenuity — his storv referring to a period on the eve of the 
Russo-Turkish War. 

" The Emperor had a favourite dog called Milord, which 
never left him. We were dining at the palace, and it being a 
small party (there were only the Imperial Family and Court 
attendants), we retired after dinner to the Empress's private 
apartments. I suddenly heard the Emperor calling ' Milord ! ' 
and supposed that he was calling for me ; but it was his dog 
that was wanted, to receive the biscuits which his Majesty was 

The Russian Emperor Demands an Explanation. 195 

in the daily habit of bestowing on his favourite. I immediatelv 
hastened to his Majesty, and learnt the explanation from the 
Emperor, who was highly amused at the incident. 

" At the time his Majesty was seated in an inner saloon 
(a sort of alcove), and placed near him was a small table, on 
which was a number of Punch, with a cartoon representing the 
Sovereigns of Austria, Russia, and German}^ at a whist table, the 
Emperor of Russia holding down his hand with a card. The 
Emperor put the paper in my hand, and said, ' Expliqucz-moi 
cela.' I felt the difficulty of the situation, and to collect my 
thoughts asked to be permitted to study it. After a short 
time I said — 

" ' Oh, sire, it is quite clear. The political European position 
is here represented by a whist party, and your Majesty is 
represented apparently as hesitating whether to continue the 

*' It was a perplexing question, and I felt ver}' much as Daniel 
ma}^ have felt when called upon to explain ' Nebuchadnezzar's 
dream ! ' " 

I was suggesting just now that to Cabinet ^Ministers the 
attitude of Punch is often a matter of very real concern — 
at least, that they seem usually to have attached more im- 
portance to the matter than we who stand outside would 
think to be reasonable ; though, from a proper sense of the 
ridiculous doubtless, ^Ministers have rarely turned upon Punch 
to rend him, for all they may have suffered at his hands. 

There is a pretty story of Lord John Russell that is at 
once a charming proof to the statesman's magnanimity and of 
the paper's influence. When the excitement, already referred 
to, of the so-called "Papal Aggression" was at its height, in 
consequence of the action of the Pope in creating Roman 
Catholic Archbishops and Bishops with English territorial 
titles. Lord John, who was then in power, took an active 
part in the House of Commons on the side of the scare- 
mongers, by introducing the Ecclesiastical Titles Bill — in 
respect to which he was strenuously opposed by both Bright 
and Cobden — not m order to put repressive measures into 
force against the Catholics, he assured the House, but simply 

N 2 

196 The History of " Puxch." 

" to insist upon our ascendency." Or, as he explained in 
1874, ''The object of that Bill was merely to assert the 
supremacy of the Crown. It was never intended to prosecute. 
Accordingly, a very clever artist represented me, in a cari- 
cature, as a boy who had chalked up ' No Popery ' upon a 
wall * and then ran away. This was a very fair joke. . . . 
When my object had been gained, I had no objection to the 
repeal of the Bill." This gave Leech his chance, and he 
executed his famous cartoon of ' No Poper}- ! ' (March 22nd, 
185 1), which was among the greatest popular successes 
ever published by Punch — even his smart young rival, the 
" Man in the Moon," declaring that Punch had with his cut 
" wakened up those whom his letterpress had sent to sleep." 

In his Reminiscences the Rev. William Rogers, Rector 
of St. Botolph's, Bishopsgate, tells the delightful sequel. 
When he called on Lord John, the Minister began to talk 
about the Charterhouse. " He said that he had lost his 
interest in the latter since his patronage had been taken away. 
I thought this prett}' good for Whig doctrine. ' No,' he 
went on, ' I never abused my patronage. Do 3'ou remember 
a cartoon in Punch where I was represented as a little boy 
writing ' No Popery ' on a wall and running away ? ' I said 
that I did. * Well,' he continued, * that was very severe, and 
did ni}' Government a great deal of harm ; but I was so 
convinced that it was not maliciously meant that I sent for 
John Leech, and asked him what I could do for him. He 
said he should like a nomination for his son to Charterhouse, 
and I gave it him." This, surely, if it be true — for Mr. Silver 
has a very different story — was a " retort courteous " that 
would prove how deeply the cartoon went home. Were it 
true, it would show how the independence of Leech could 
be in no wise affected — though, going to the House one 
day, he was greatly struck with the extraordinary dignity ot 
the Minister during his speech in the great debate on foreign 
policy (February 17th, 1854), when the Crimean War with 
Russia threatened. 

In Mr. Gladstone's ''great Edinburgh speech" of the 

* It was on Cardinal Wiseman's door, not upon a wall. 

Mr. Disraeli and Mr. Leech. 197 

autumn of 1893 the veteran Premier said that Punch, "when- 
ever it can, manifests the Liberal sentiments by which jt was 
governed from the first." And naturally, as a consistent Liberal 
supporter, it as consistently attacked the Tory partv. Says 
Mr. Ruskin in one of his lectures on "The Art of England :" 
" You must be clear about Punch's politics. He is a polite 
Whig, with a sentimental respect for the Crown, and a practical 
respect for property. He steadily flatters Lord I'almerston, 
firom his heart adores Mr. Gladstone. Steadily, but not viru- 
lently, caricatures ^Ir. DTsraeli ; violently and virulently 
castigates assault upon property in any kind, and holds up 
for the general idea of perfection, to be aimed at by all the 
children of heaven and earth, the British Hunting Squire, 
the British Colonel, and the British sailor." 

This persistent opposition to Disraeli throughout his whole 
career — an hostility more bitter than perhaps might have 
been expected from Ruskin's "polite Whig" — was esteemed 
at its full importance by the object of it, though it was ac- 
cepted by him, as similar attacks are accepted by all gi"eat 
minds, in excellent part. Nevertheless, after only three or 
four years of attack, he made a determined though unsuccess- 
ful attempt to conciliate his pungent critic. Vizetelly, in his 
" Glances Back through Seventy Years," tells the story with 
all the interest belonging to a personal recollection. 

"In the summer of 1845," he says, "Mr. Disraeli took 
the chair at the annual dinner of the 'Printers' Pension Society,' 
when the stewards, of whom I was one, received him in the 
drawing-room of the ' Albion,' in Aldersgate Street. Immediately 
after his entrance he posted himself in a nonchalant fashion 
with his back to the mantelpiece, and his thumbs in his waist- 
coat pockets, an attitude Thackeray was fond of assuming, 
and began to chat familiarly with those near him. In a 
minute or two he asked if Mr. Leech was present (Leech 
was one of the stewards), as if he would like to make his 
acquaintance. The famous Punch caricaturist thereupon 
stepped forward, and was duly introduced. Disraeli showed 
himself particularly gi'acious, and warmly congratulated the 
artist, whose pencil had lately been employed in satirising 

198 The History of "Punch." 

him in a disparaging fashion, depicting him as a nice young 
man for a small party, i.e. the Yomig England part)', as a 
Jew dealer in cast-off notions, and as a young Gulliver before 
the Brobdingnag Minister (Sir R. Peel). Disraeli tried his 
hardest to ingratiate himself with the distinguished caricaturist, 
but Leech, proof against the wiles of the charmer, rejoined 
some months afterwards with the famous cartoon wherein 
Disraeli, who had latel)^ proclaimed that, although the cause 
was lost, there should be some retribution for those who 
betra^'ed it, figured as a spiteful ringletted viper, and Peel 
as a smiling unconcerned old file. 

" During the dinner the chairman did his best to make 
himself pleasant, and hobbed and nobbed unreservedly with 
his immediate neighbours. ... When the toasts had been 
drunk and the secretary had read out the list of subscriptions 
and the quiet family-men had hunied off to catch the last 
suburban omnibus, Mr. Disraeli showed no disposition to 
vacate the chair. Seeing this, the remaining guests drew up 
to his end of the table, and a lively discourse ensued, in 
which a casual allusion to Punch was made. Disraeli profited 
bv this by rising to his feet, and in a clever and amusing 
speech proposed the health of Mr. Punch, towards whom, he 
protested, he felt no kind of malice on account of any strictures, 
pictorial or verbal, which that individual might have passed 
upon him. Everybody entered into the spirit of the joke, 
and after the toasts had been drunk, calls were made indif- 
ferently upon Lemon and a Beckett, both of whom were 
present, to respond. Mark, however, rose, and in a brief 
and witty speech returned thanks for the honour that had 
been done, as he neatly put it, to an absent friend. 

" Disraeli's amiable advances availed him nothing. For a 
long time afterwards Punch gave no quarter to the * Red Indian 
of debate' who, as Sir James Graham pithily phrased it, 'cut his 
wa}'' to power with a tomahawk.' The time came, however, 
when Disraeli could show his magnanimity. Leech, who had 
satirised him weekly, and so familiarised everyone with his face 
and figure that an aristocratic little damsel, on being presented 
to him, exclaimed, ' I know vou ! I'v'e seen vou in Punch ! ' — 

"■Punch'' is Adamant. 199 

Leech had had a pension given to him b}' the Liberals, and 
when he died the pension would have died with him, had not 
Disraeli, who had at last risen to power, interposed and secured 
it to the famih\" And so Leech, who apparently could not 
make an enemy, was indebted to the generosity of his victims 
for two of the greatest services that were rendered to him 
and his. 

Lord Beaconsfield himself -acknowledged in his latest book, 
'' Endymion," his respect for Punch's influence at that time, as 
well as his desire to temper the ardour of its attacks if not to 
secure its silence, for he there explains how the hero, who to 
some degree at least is to be considered an autobiographical 
study, "flattered himself that ' Scaramouche ' " would regard 
him in a more friendly spirit. Punch, with pardonable pride, 
devoted a ^ cartoon to this pointed reference, but merely 
remarking, " H'm — he did flatter himself," abated not one 
iot of his caustic criticism. 

But for all the failure of his advances, and for all his 
sensitiveness — so far as he could be said to be sensitive at all 
— Beaconsfield kept a close eye on Punch, and kept many, 
if not all, of the cartoons in which he figured. Similarly did 
Napoleon IIL love to collect all those of himself which he 
could obtain, and pore over them at inter^"als, even in those 
sadly fallen times he spent at Chislehurst. And he had material 
for reflection enough, for in no way, I take it, can a public man 
learn what a world of savagery, hatred, cruelty, and un- 
charitableness lies, not so much in man's mind, but in that 
corner of it which we euphemistically term his "humour," as in 
following the handiwork of the political caricaturist of France. 
Mr. Spurgeon, too, used to keep all the cartoons and caricatures 
that sought to turn him to ridicule ; and Lord Beaconsfield, like 
the Prince Consort, Lord Randolph Churchill (who possessed 
several of the orig^inal Punch drawings into which he had 
been introduced), among other politicians of the day, kept these 
artistic instruments of political torture before him, as a man 
treasures in his locket the hair of the dog that bit him. A 
visitor to Hughenden gave, in the " Dublin Mail," an interesting 
illustration of this tribute to the comic press. He was waiting 

200 The History of ''Punch!' 

in an ante-chamber, '' and while passing the time ni}' attention 
was attracted to a clever sketch of the then Prime Minister, de- 
picted as Hamlet, seated at a table covered with innumerable 
documents, the text quotation being, ' The time is out of joint. 
O Cursed spite, That [ever] I was born to set it right ! ' I was 
smiling at the picture, which, I may add, was a cut out of Punch, 
and framed, when the Prime Minister entered with the gentleman 
who was to present me, and finding me gazing at the sketch Lord 
Beaconsfield said, ' Yes, that is one of the best caricatures of me 
that has yet appeared, and, strange to say, the artist has neither 
presented me with donkey's ears nor cloven hoofs. I feel very 
much flattered ! ' Lord Beaconsfield took an interest in all the 
caricatures that appeared of him, and at the time he ched he 
had several hundreds in his possession." 

Mr. Gladstone, who, we have often been assured, has not the 
gift of humour, has at least enjoyed Punch's good-natured yet 
occasionally severe raillery, and in the same Edinburgh speech to 
which reference has already been made, he recalled with much 
relish how, in connection with the rejection of the Paper Duty 
Bill, he was represented in a cartoon as being decorated by the 
triumphant Lord Derby — the Lord Derby of that day, who led 
the House of Lords — with an immense sheet of paper made 
into a fool's-cap, which he dropped upon his head. Mr. Goschen 
took a still more exalted view of Puncli s prestige when he 
declared (at Rugby, November, 1881) that "he had since attained 
to the highest ambition which a statesman can reach — namely, 
to have a cartoon in Punch all to himself." 

But hardly less important, in many a public man's opinion, 
than the sardonic significance of Punch's treatment of him in 
the cartoon, is the degree of facial resemblance achieved by the 
artist. It is undeniable that a likeness which is only half a like- 
ness will often rob an otherwise admirable cartoon of half its 
success, just as it was oftentimes the excellence of the portraiture 
which more than counterbalanced the weakness of H5's 
sketches. Lord Brougham always flattered himself that Punch's 
portraits of him did not do him justice, and John Forster, in his 
" Life of Dickens," bears witness to it. " Lord Carlisle repeated 
what the good old Brougham had said to him of ' those Punch 

Different Views of Lord Beaconsfield. 201 
people/ expressing what was really his fixed belief, ' They never 


By R. Doyle, J. Leech, J. Teitnicl, C. Keene, L. Savibourne, and H. Furttiss. 
Re-drawn by Harry Fiimiss.) 

get my face, and are obliged to put up with my plaid trousers.' " 
But another writer, on the contrary, states that Lord Brougham 

202 The History of "Punch." 

" himself admits that the Punch hkenesses are the best. Of 
course, they are a httle exaggerated, but not so much so as many 
with whom I have chatted on the subject are apt to suppose ; " 
while Motley, the American Minister, declared, after an official 
meetmg with the grim old lord, " He is exactly like the pictures 
in Punch, only Punch flatters him. The common pictures of 
Palmerston and Lord John Russell are not at all like, to my 
mind ; but Brougham is always hit exactly." Leech, indeed, 
enjoyed nothing more than caricaturing him, one of the most 
precious butts Punch ever took to himself, until he was twitted 
in the " Puppet- Show " at the liberties he took : " The pro- 
prietors will be compelled to widen the columns of their journal 
... to show, as far as space will admit, to what lengths a nose 
may go in the hands of an unprincipled illustrator." But it was 
not only that Punch delighted in toying with Lord Brougham's 
cantankerousness and his peculiarities of manner and diction — 
as in the famous cartoon of Lord Brougham as Mrs. Caudle, of 
the original sketch for which a reproduction is given opposite — 
but he steadily carried into execution his threat of earlier days, 
to drag Lord Brougham " in the mire." He has been as good 
as his word ever since the day when Dicky Do3'le drew the 
famous cover which is familiar to us all — that is to say, in 
1849 — for, as you will see if you will refer to last week's 
Punch, a young faun in the grand procession that appears as a 
relievo upon the podium or base draws along the mask of 
Brougham by a string. But without doubt one of the most 
successful cartoons Leech ever drew, and the most humorous 
portrait of Brotigham, represented him as a clown at Astley's, 
going up to the splendid ring-master, the Duke of Wellington 
(as IVIr. Widdicomb of Astley's Amphitheatre) and saying 
"Well, Mr. Wellington, is there anything I can do for you 
— for to run, for to fetch, for to carry, for to borrow, for to 
steal ? " As Lord Brougham was suspected of undue com- 
plaisance towards the Duke at the time, the neatness of the 
political allusion was received with extraordinary favour by 
the public. 

Another admirable portrait, consistently good, was that of 
Sir Robert Peel : so good, indeed, that when it was proposed to 

S/J? Robert Peel's Statue. 


erect a statue to the statesman, and the best of all likenesses 
was sought as a guide to the sculptor — a resemblance truthful in 
feature and natural expression — the choice fell on a cartoon 
by Leech, and according to that drawing the head was 
modelled. Palmerston, too, was not a little impressed when 
in Wales a postman spoke to him as though he knew him, 


" What do you say ? Thank heaven ! You are going to enjoy the recess — and you'll 
be rid of me for some months P Never mind. Depend upon it, when you come back, 
you shall have it again. No : I don't raise the House, and set everybody in it 
by the ears ; but I'm not going to give up every little privilege; though it's seldom 
I open my Hps, goodness knows!" — "Caudle Lectures" (improved). 
Mrs. Caudle, Lord Brougham; Mr. Caudle, Lord Chancellor Lyxdhurst. 

{From the original Sketch for the Cartoon draiv:i by John Leech at Thackeray's suggestion.) 

and replied, when questioned as to the recognition, " Seen your 
picture in Punch, my lord." 

But Punch, it must be admitted, has often departed from 
the solemn truth, both unintentionally and of malice afore- 
thought. It was his common practice to put a straw into 
Lord Palmerston's mouth. Palmerston, of course, never did 
chew straws ; but one was adopted as a symbol to show 
his cool and sportive nature. Many a time has that straw 

204 ^-^^ History of "Punch." 

formed the topic of serious discussion by serious writers. 
Some have pretended that it was designed to typify an 
expression used by one of his admiring followers in the 
House — a tribute to his " stable character ; " others have said 
that it became his attribute from the time that he described 
himself as " playing the part of judicious Bottle-Holder to 
the pugnacious Powers of Europe ; " and Mark Lemon 
declared that it was simply used as a sort of trade-mark 
whereby he might be known again, just as Mr. Harry Furniss 
invented Mr. Gladstone's collars, Lord Randolph Churchill's 
diminutiveness, and exaggerated those complacent smiles and 
oily rippling chins of Sir William Harcourt, continuing them 
long after the time when Sir William could boast the local 
portliness no more. However, it is certain that the sprig 
of straw, which really referred onlv to his pure devotion 
to the Turf, from 1815 onwards, was first used in 1851, just 
after the whimsical " Judicious Bottle-Holder " declaration, 
and, as a matter of fact, added not a little to Palmerston's 
popularity', as not only representing the Turf, but a Sam 
Weller-like calmness, alertness, and good-humour. 

Similarly both Leech and Tenniel were in the habit of 
giving Bright an eye-glass. " Some of us remember seeing 
him wear a coat with a stand-up collar in the House of 
Commons," said a writer in the " Daily Telegraph," " and a 
broad-brimmed hat ; but * why,' he used to ask with a merry 
face, ' did Punch alwa3'S put an eye-glass in my eye ? I 
never wore a single eye-glass ! ' " That was just the point ; 
for no doubt the simple reason was that the addition of a 
monocle was supposed to lend a sort of rakish appearance to 
the solemn Quaker, and belonged to the same genus of perverse 
jocularity as that which suggested three hats as the humorous 
covering for young Disraeli's head. Mr. W. H. Smith in 
like manner geniallv protested at a complimentary dinner 
in 1877 against the liberties taken with his person. "As to 
Punch," he said, " whose remarks ha\"e been mentioned, I 
beg leave to say that I do not go to sea in uniform, or 
exhibit those very queer expressions of face depicted by 
Pimch's artists." 

The Caricaturists' Despair. 205 

There are some men whose physiognomies defy the 
deftest pencils. Such a one was Cobden, whose views Pttnch 
represented far more faithfully and sympathetically than 
his face. At the Cobden dinner of 1884 Lord Carlingford 
drew fresh attention to the point : '' Cobden's was, for some 
reason which I never heard explained, a most difficult i^ice 
to sketch, and Puncli was in despair at the impossibility of 
producing a caricature that could be recognised without 
explanatory text. Many of the artists tried Cobden, and 
were floored over him. Leech and Tenniel both confessed 
that they could not hit the familiar expression. Somehow, 
the}' ne^-er did hit it, though photograph}- came bv-and-by 
to their aid." The statement is perfectly true, but the 
reason is not hard to find : simply that a shaven face, 
without well-marked features or strong lines of character, and, 
above all, without angularities, gives the artist extremely 
little to " take hold of." For that reason such faces as those 
of Lord Rosebery, Mr. Asquith, and Mr. John Morley (of the 
latter of whom Mr. Furniss used to say the true characteristic 
expression is only to be found in his red cravat) are as often 
failures as successes, in even the skilfuUest hands. It is the 
fault of neither the artist nor the person mis-represented ; 
according to ]\Ir. Lucy — it is "the act of God." 

Before the days of photography the work of the carica- 
turist was harder than it is now. Draughtsmen had to be 
familiar with the faces of the leading men of the day — even 
as Leech was, by " getting them " into their sketch-books 
by hook or by crook, or else they would accept the portrait 
already published by a brother-artist. Even to-day it 
sometimes occurs that a man of importance has not been' 
photographed. In that case he must be sketched or 
remembered, or his portrait "faked up" on the block until it 
bears some resemblance to the person required. But, passing 
from mere portraiture to the realisation of ideas, the artist 
feels his liberty, and gives his genius full rein. Thus it is 
that Puncli has always been happy and successful in his 
"types." It is thoroughly in the spirit of caricature that 
types should be established and adhered to in order to express. 

2o6 The History of ''Pu.xch." 

in s}'mbolic form, nations and even ideas. Not only is it 
poetical, it is convenient ; and has perforce been adopted 
in every country where political caricature is employed, 
though with standards and notions very different from our 
own. In Italy, for example, and in a minor degi'ee in 
Germany, John Bull, as the symbol of Great Britain, is 
usually represented b}- a travesty of Punch's, with a brutal 
head and band}^ legs, and the whole figure bent in body to 
suggest a bull, horns sometimes protruding beside the hat ; 
while Russia is courteously represented as a frantic Cossack 
of terrific mien, brandishing a knout with violent and savage 
intent. We may claim that our types, as in^'ented by 
Punch, are of immeasurable superiority, whether of con- 
ception or of realisation. Our John Bull — a lineal descendant 
probably of Gillray's favourite representation of George the 
Third as ''Farmer Gearge" — is a fine noble fellow enough 
as drawn by Leech and developed by Tenniel ; indeed, in 
the drawings of the latter may often be seen the idealised 
face of Mark Lemon, his jovial Editor. 

This view of the tvpe of England has attracted the 
attention of Ruskin. " Is it not surely," he ^sks, " some 
overruling power in the nature of things, quite other than 
the desire of his readers, which compels Mr. Punch, when 
the squire, the colonel, and the admiral are to be at once 
expressed, together with all that they legislate or fight for, 
in the symbolic figure of the nation, to present the incar- 
nate Mr. Bull always as a farmer — never as a manufacturer 
or shopkeeper — and to conceive and exhibit him rather as 
paymaster for the faults of his neighbours than as watching 
for opportunit}' of gain out of their follies ? " And again, 
" . . . . considering Punch as the expression of the popular 
voice, which he virtually is, and even somewhat obsequiously, 
is it not wonderful that he has never a word to say for the 
British manufacturer, and that the true citizen of his own 
city is represented by him only under the types either of 
Sir Pompey Bedell or of the more tranquil magnate and 
potentate, the bulwark of British constitutional principles and 
initiator of British private enterprise, Mr. John Smith ? " 

Mr. Gladstone Year by Year. 


It is true that Punch has imposed upon a nation a character 
which, as depicted, is unknown in the land, and placed him 
in a line of business notoriously dissimilar from that in which 

{By J. Leech, J. Tcnniel, L. Saiiibournc, and H. Furniss. Rc-drawn by Harry Funiiss.) 

he really engages ; and the sum-total of it all is greath' to 
the credit of Mr. Punch's influence. He has, in fact, "edu- 
cated" a nation. For to this day, no sooner does each 

2o8 The History of "Fl'xcn." 

succeeding Wednesday spread the new issue over the country 
than a mass of newspapers, both in England and in the 
colonies, immediately describe and discuss "This week's car- 
toon" for the edification of their readers. And so we have 
come to accept these types until they have almost gro^^Tl 
into concrete ideas — conventions which have been given to 
us chieflv bv Sir John Tenniel — Britannia and Father Time, 
the Xew Year and the Old, Cousin Jonathan (or Uncle Sam) 
and Columbia, Death and Crime, Starvation and Disease, 
Peace and War, Justice and Anarchy, the British Lion (might 
not the s^Tnbol nowadays be more appropriately the British 
Racehorse ?), the Bengal Tiger, the Russian Bear, the Eagle, 
and all the rest. And could they well be bettered ? 




Punch lays about Him — Assaults the "Morning Post" — The Factitious "Jen- 
kins" — Thackeray's Farewell — Mrs. Gamp (the "Morning Herald'; and 
Mrs. Harris (the " Standard") — Lese Majeste! — ^The " Standard" Fulminates 
a Leader — The Retort — His Loyalty — Banters the Prince Consort — Tribute 
on the Princes Death — Punch's Butts ; Lord William Lennox — ^JuUien— Sir 
Peter Laurie — Harrison Ainsworth — Lj^ton — Turner— A Fallacy of Hope — 
Bume-Jones — Charles Kean — S. C. Hall as " Pecksniff" — James Silk Buck- 
ingham and the "British and Foreign Destitute" — Alfred Bunn — Punch's 
Waterloo: "A Word vdih Punch" — Bunn, Hot and Cross — A Second 
"Word" Prepared, but never Uttered — Other Points of Attack. 

Though for many years Punch has claimed to be " even-body's 
friend," he would certainly not have done so during the earlier 
part of his career. Then he was constantly in the wars, not 
merely because he was criticising public men, attacking abuses, 
and making sport of his favourite butts ; but because he had 
not yet learned to break away from the joumahstic duelling 
that prevailed. In these more sophisticated days it is the usual 
aim of ever}- prominent journal to ignore as far as possible the 
existence of its rivals ; then, it was thought that that existence 
could be best undermined, if not absolutely cut short, by direct 
attack. Party spirit ran ver}- high ; and to Punch's undoubted 
strength in serious writing was added a power of pungent ^^^t 
and sarcasm unequalled by any rival. He thus became a ver}' 
formidable adversary- ; and he knew it. But he did not put 
forth his full strength until he felt sure of his o^^Tl firm estab- 
iishment ; nor did he turn his baton upon his brothers in the 
press until he had made a lively start upon indi\-idual states- 
men and private persons, and formally set them up as his own 
particular Aunt Salhes for private and pubhc practice. 

His first onslaught on the daily press was made upon the 
•'Morning Post" (p. 126, Vol. IV.), by the hand, not of 
Thackerav, as has hitherto been beheved, but of Douglas 

2IO The History of ''Punchy 

Jenold, under the title of "The 'Post' at the Opera." The 
tone of that newspaper was irresistible to the democrats of 
Punch; and Thackeray, Leech, and a Beckett took up the 
running with great glee. Jerrold and Thackeray chose to 
personify the paper by the creation of " Jenkins/' and the 
"Jenkins Papers" soon became a recognised feature and one 
of the standard jokes of the paper. Leech's illustrations 
were every bit as good as the others' text ; and even when 
the gentle Hine was called upon to make sketches upon the 
same subject, he found himself inspired like the rest. " Jen- 
kins," the toady, and " Lickspittleoff," his " Russian editor," 
were grand sport in the office, and their example was fol- 
lowed — not a little to their disgust — by the " Great Gun " 
and other papers. Soon after his first introduction (p. 123, 
Vol. V.) " Jenkins " was cast aside as a joke played out, and 
Thackera}' took leave of him in the following amazing lines : — 

" Fun'Ch's Partixg Tribute." 

" Oh ! Jenkins, homme du peuple — mangez bien ! * 
Desormais avec toi nous ferons rien, 
Vous etes tout use— chose qui montre la corde,t 
Nos lecteurs etaient mal de toi d'abord ; / 

Allez-vous-en — votre baton coupez vite, 
En Pouch jamais votre nom — de'sormais sera dite." 

But when the possibilities of " Jenkins " were fully realised, 
he was revived, and for some years did excellent service as a 
subject for humorous attack. 

/ A more serious campaign upon which Punch now entered 
^vas that against the "Standard" and the "Morning Herald." 
He had with some astuteness, and doubtless not without 
sincerity, ranged himself on the side of the " Times," and 
threw himself into the fray with all the zest and some of the 
irresponsibility of the licensed jester, t " jVIartin Chuzzlewit " 

* Mangez bien, Jenkinsonian French for " fare well." 

t Jenkinsonian French for " thread-bare subject." 

+ On the occasion of Punch's Jubilee, July. 1891, the "Times" remarked: 
" Alay we be excused for noting the fact that he [Punch] has generally, in 
regard to public affairs, taken his cue from the ' Times ' ?y- 

Baiting the "Standard" and "Morning Herald^ 211 

had already seized upon the town, and the names of Mrs. 
Gamp and Mrs. Harris were on ever^'bodv's hps. Punch 
chose to assume that the "Morning Herald" and the 
" Standard "— morning and evening papers then which 
represented the Conservative party, both of them until 1857 
belonging to one proprietor — were edited respectively by the 
two ladies aforesaid. The "Standard" was verv wroth. It 
would not have been so sore perhaps at being dubbed " Betsy 
Prig;" but, being in fact almost a reprint of the "Herald," 
the suggestion of "Mrs. Harris" — a creature of no existence, 
the mere reflex of Mrs. Gamp's own inane and besodden 
brain — was too calmly provoking, as it was meant to be, to 
be borne in silence. These two journals were highly un- 
popular at the time ; for the " Manchester School " was making 
headwav, and Free Trade was already a powerful and signifi- 
cant crv. So when Punch laughed at them for two — though 
really one — disreputable old women, and Leech's inimitable 
pencil typified them as such, in mob-cap and pattens, the 
public laughed with him, whatever their own political opinion 
might be. It should be noted, however, that Punch's first 
brush with the "Herald" was personal, not political. In 
February, 1843, the latter journal had fathered upon Punch 
a poor joke of which he was entirely innocent, and which 
he repudiated in an article entitled " Impudent Attempt at 
Fraud." The quarrel thus begim in fun was continued in 
earnest, and soon the " Herald," as a representative of public 
opinion, had no more damaging assailant than " our humorous 

Now, in November, 1845, there appeared a reference to 
" Mrs. Harris, Editress of the Standard," as well as a 
drawing by Leech, called " Maternal Solicitude," which was 
intended to satirise the snobbery of persons who name their 
children after the Royal Family. It represents the \-isit of 
one ladv to another, while a pair of repulsive-looking brats 
of one of them make up the group. " And the dear child- 
ren ? " asks the friend. "Why," rephes the fond mother, 
" Alexandrina Victoria is a good deal better ; but dear little 
Albert here is still very delicate." 
o 2 


The History of ''Punch!' 

Thereupon the "Standard" opened the floodgates of its 
anger in a leading article, the whole tone of which is a curious 
contrast to its dignity and moderation at the present da}'. 
In the course of its outburst it said : — 

Still not one word from the " Times '' in support of its charge of 
the exercise of Court influence at the Windsor Election. As usual, 


" And the dear children ? " 

" Why, Alexandrina Victoria is a good deal better ; but dear little Albert here 
is still very delicate.'' 

[Drawn by Jolin Leech. From ^^ Punch," Xcrz'. 2^rti, 1845.) 

however, ... its toadies are active and noisy. . . . To-day we, of 
course, find Punch the most abject, probably, of all the " Times " 
toadies, discharging the duties of its mean avocation in an article 
libelling the successful candidate, libelling the military, libelling 
the young gentlemen of Eton, and ascribing Colonel Reid's return 

to " kitchen-stairs influence " emanating from the Castle If 

there were any fun in the article to which we refer, we might 
forgive the malice and falsehood, as we are all too much disposed 
to do, for the joke's sake ; but dull as all the articles of Punch 
have been lateh- growing, this article on the Windsor Election is 

"Mrs. Harris" Impeaches ''Punch." 213 

the stupidest that Ave have seen in its cohimns — a mere display of 
heavy spitefuhiess. We should probably have overlooked this 
piece of impertinence had Punch confined itself to letterpress 
in its ioadv vindication of the quarrel of the " Times ; '' but in 
the 222nd page of the number which contains the Windsor 
Election article, there is a disgusting caricature of the Queen and 
her family, the most false and unjust in what it implies that it 
is possible to conceive, and the most offensive to the feelings of 
a mother. The effect of such an insult to a Sovereign the object 
of her people's respect and love will, we imagine, be different 
from what the " Times " and its /oart'z'^j- anticipate. At all events, 
such insults will not, in the absence of all proof, render credible 
the false allegation of the exercise of Court influence, or enable 
the "Times" to get rid of our challenge, which we again repeat — 
this is a point from which we shall not be driven, until we have 
a direct answer from the " Times " itself, not from its toadies. 
The Queen may be libelled as the Punch., " Times," and 
" Examiner " libel her Majesty, if Sir Frederick Thesiger permit ; 
but our Sovereign shall not be belied while we have the power 
to expose the fabricators of falsehood and their fabrications. 

One may well wonder whether the "Standard" was really 
serious, or only ''making believe" in order to strengthen its 
attack upon the "Times." But it suited Punch to take the 
outburst serious!}', though with provoking calmness. First 
retorting that it is well that the editress of the " Standard " 
—he invariably referred to " the editress "—wears pattens 
as a precaution which the nature of her walks renders very 
necessary, although they are constantly tripping her up, 
Punch quietly remarked that "'Our Grandmother' must 
surely have taken an additional drop of 'something comfort- 
able ' ; " and Leech parodied Phiz' etching of Mrs. Gamp 
and Betsy Prig, in which "the editress" declares, "As for 
that nasty, hojus Punch, I'm dispoged to scratch 'is hi's out 
a'most. What I ses, I ses ; and what I ses, I sticks to." The 
campaign was conducted with considerable spirit by Gilbert a 
Beckett and Percival Leigh, with slight assistance from 
Horace Mayhew ; and was continued with remorseless gaiety 
and bitterness for some years. In the pages here devoted 
to Thackeray reference is made to the personal feeling which 

214 The History of "Punch." 

existed between him and the " Morning Post " and to the 
effective retahation on the part of that newspaper. 

PiDicJis loyalty, as a matter of fact, has always been above 
suspicion and above proof. Democrat as he was, and indepen- 
dent in his views, he was as indignant as the " Standard " itself 
when the half-demented Bean made his attempt upon the 
Queen's life ; yet gleeful to a degi^ee when his Liege Lady was 
called upon to pay income-tax precisely as all her subjects did. 
The birth of the Prince of Wales, which coincided with Lord 
Ma}'or's Da}-, provided Punch with an opportunity for showing 
much lo^'alty and more wit ; and the interest with which 
he followed the education and amusements of the Heir- 
Apparent, the anxiety with which he made suggestions for 
the best appointments, in his nurser5--household, to the office 
of the " Master of the (Rocking) Horse," the " Clerk of the 
Pea-Shooter," and so forth ; the delight with which, by the 
hand of Leech (1846), he published a charming cartoon of the 
lad as a man-o' -war's man, thus popularising the dress of 
English boys, while the sketch itself was widely reproduced 
as a bronze or plaster group — all this proved the benevolent 
sentiments he entertained towards the Royal Family. This 
benevolence has cropped up again and again — when the 
Prince visited Canada and America (i860); when, in 1861, 
he went up to Trinit}' College, Cambridge (the Mayor and 
Corporation coming in for severe criticism, however, for 
their snobbish Address) ; when he married ; when he fell ill 
and recovered ; and when he celebrated his Jubilee — on which 
occasion Punch declared that " the longer he knew him the 
better he liked him " — a sentiment the genuineness of which 
could hardly have been questioned by an}' but the blindest 
of critics. From first to last Punch has been a respectful 
godfather, and a wise and kindly guardian. 

Towards the Queen herself Punch has shown unswer\'ing 
chivalry and reverence, even during the shouting days when 
democracy was more noisily republican than it is to-day. 
The Queen figures often in the earlier cartoons, and the care 
with which the draughtsmen sought to do justice to the 
pure outline of her fair face is at least a tribute to their good 

Satirising the Prince Consort. 215 

taste. Punch never affected to regard her as a mere figure- 
head, but always represented her in a position of authorit\\ 
her Ministers in character of domestic servants taking her 
instructions, and not at all tendering advice ; and ever}- 
important incident in the life of the Queen has been touched 
upon with the utmost respect and sympath}-. 

But with the Prince Consort the case was soniewhat dif- 
ferent. As Mr. Burnand and 'Mr. Arthur a Beckett have 
written * : — 

" It is strange to note that, until the hour of his death, the man 
whose memory is now universally respected was highly unpopular 
with the general public. The Democritus ot Fleet Street was, and 
is, essentially representative, and the popular opinion of the merits 
or demerits of H.R.H. is constantly shown. Only a few weeks 
after the cartoon " [of the Prince Consort tying up his door-knocker 
on the occasion of the birth of the Princess Beatrice] " Mr. Punch is 
drawn looking at the portrait of the Prince Consort at a review at 
the Royal Academy, and saying, '' No. 24. A field-marshal ; h'm — 
very good indeed. What sanguinary engagement can it be ? " 
That these satirical observations were made simply at Prince Albert's 
expense, and were not intended to reflect upon the Queen or the rest 
of the Royal Family, is shown by the extremely hearty manner in 
which the marriage of the Princess Royal was welcomed by Mr. 
Punch as representing the English feeling. John Bull is heard 
saying, as he hands over to the Imperial Princess of Germany her 
dowry, ' There, my child ! God bless you ! And may \ou make 
as good a wife as your mother.' " 

It is probable that the real source of the Prince Consort's 
mipopularit}' was his foreign nationality, added to the ignorance 
of the people of his enthusiasm and indefatigable efforts for the 
public weal. His rapid promotion in military rank, already 
referred to, was not appreciated in the country, and was 
mercilessly lampooned in Punch ; and attention was attracted 
to the fact that from that time forward the Duke of Welling- 
ton always prefixed the initials " P.M." in his short, brusque 
third-person letters. '' H.R.H. P.M. Paterfamilias" was for 
some time one of the chief of Punch's stock jests. The 

* "Fortnightly Review," December, 1886. 

2i6 The History of ''Punch." 

Prince was pursued into bis private apartments, and shown as 
a pere de famille in not the most respectful spirit. In one 
picture he is represented in his dressing-gown conferring upon 
" P— pps the Fortunate " the Knighthood of the Shower 
Bath ; in others, the effect of Time upon his head and figure 
are dwelt upon with real sardonic relish. The misapprehen- 
sions of the public were not unnaturally reflected by Punch, 
and a cut was much applauded in which the Prince was 
shown stopped by a policeman in Trafalgar Square when in 
the act of removing a couple of pictures ft-om the National 
Gallery. Punch pointedly inquires, " Taking them to Kensing- 
ton Gore ? Suppose you leave 'em where they are, eh ? " 

More justifiable perhaps, but still somewhat harsh, was 
Punch's protest (1854) against the Prince's supposed interfer- 
ence in State politics. He is shown skating on the ice, warned 
off by Mr. Punch from a section of it labelled " Foreign Affairs 
— Danrerous." And in the same vear he is attacked with 
extraordinarv gusto by reason of the new hat he had devised 
for the British army — or, at least, for the Guards. In 1843 the 
first " Albert shako " had appeared, and Leech, in a cartoon 
called " Prince Albert's Studio," exhibited it as a pretended 
work of art in the most ludicrous light. Again, in 1847 ^^^^ 
Prince had invented a similar headgear, popularly christened 
"the Albert Hat," which Punch converted to his uses and 
worked to death. " The New Albert Bonnet for the Guards " 
ridicules the idea unmercifully, and " the British Grenadier as 
improved by His Royal Highness Prince Albert, decidedly 
calculated to fiighten the Russians," was another grotesque 
perversion of a praiseworthy attempt with which Mr. Punch 
was in his heart a good deal in sympath}-. For his artists were 
as diligent as the Prince in trying to improve the uniform of 
the British soldier, contrasting with its wretched inconvenience 
the serviceability and ease of the sailor's. The drawing in which 
a private, half choked by his stock, held helplessly rigid by his 
straps and buckles, and unable to hold his gim as his " head's 
coming off! " illustrates the fact that Punch's views and Prince 
Albert's had much in common. We have the authority of 
Sir Theodore Martin, in his biography (Vol. II., p. 299), that 

An Eloquent Tribute. 217 

the Prince Consort took PuncJi s humours in very good part, 
and made a large collection of the caricatures of the day, in 
the belief that in them alone could the true position of a 
public man be recognised. But it is said that soon after this 
last crusade a hint was received from Windsor Castle to the 
effect that a little less personality and a little more justice 
in respect to the Prince would be appreciated, as much b}' the 
people as bv the Court. It is certain that after this time the 
attacks practicalh" came to an end. And when the Prince 
died, there were few truer mourners in the land, and the 
widowed Queen had few sincerer sympathisers, than the 
jester whose railler}^ had been so keen, and who felt too late 
a generous remorse. 

'' It was too soon to die," wrote Shirley Brooks in a 
poem called, simply, "Albert, December Fourteenth, 1861 " — 

" It was too soon to die. 

Yet, might we count his vears b}' triumphs won, 
By wise, and bold, and Christian duties done. 
It were no brief eventless history. 

* * * * 

" Could there be closer tie 

'Twixt us, who, sorrowing, own a nation's debt, 
And Her, our own dear Lady, who as yet 
Must meet her sudden woe with tearless eye : 

" When with a kind relief 

Those eyes rain tears, O might this thought employ ! 
Him whom she loved Ave loved. We shared her joy, 
And will not be denied to share her grief." 

Punch always had a number of butts on hand — men whom 
he attacked for their delinquencies, real or imaginary, or whom 
on account of idiosyncrasies he thought to be fair game, just for 
the fun of it. One of the first of these was Lord William 
Lennox, a nobleman of literary pretensions, whose efforts, how- 
ever, were' said to be more pretentious than literary. His novel 
of " The Tuft-Hunter" was quickly '' spotted " by the critics, and 
Hood was the first to declare that the book was little else than 
a patchwork firom his own " Tylney Hall," from " The Lion," 
and from Scott's "Antiquary," though the "names and 

2i8 The History of ''Punch!' 

epithets" were changed. "Such kind of borrowing as this," 

Milton has said, '' if it be not bettered by the borrower, among 

good authors is accounted plagiare ; " and as plagiarism of the 

most unblushing character Punch adjudged it. Hood himself 

contributed his mite to the discussion in the paper in the form 

of the following : — 

" Epigram 

" On the ' Tjift-Hunter!! by Lord William Lennox. 

" A duke once declared — and most solemnly, too — - 
That whatever he liked with his own he would do ; 
But the son of a duke has gone further and shown 
He will do what he likes when it isn't his own ! " 

And it was Hood who inspired Jerrold with the idea of the 
biting article headed '' Daring Robbery by a Xoble Lord — 
Punch's Police." In this instance Punch was genuinely indig- 
nant, and he proceeded to make Lord William's life a burden to 
him with such announcements as : " Shortly will be published, 
in two volumes, 8vo, a new work, entitled ' Future and Xever,' 
by Lord W. Lennox, author of Carlyle's ' Past and Present,' etc. 
etc., and of Wordsworth's ' We are Six and One ' ; " and again 
"Prize Comedy by Lord W. Lennox: 'Academy for Scandal'; " 
while a portion of Punch's preface to his sixth volume (1844) 
was supposed to be written by Lord William, and presented a 
most laughable compound of sayings and quotations, with slight 
alteration, from well-known authors. But when Punch dropped 
him, the unhappy author was not left alone, for the "Great 
Gun " and other journals picked him up, and played with what 
remained of his literary reputation. 

It was in his second number that Punch began his persistent 
ridicule of Jullien, the famous chef d'orchestre who introduced 
the Promenade Concerts to Drury Lane, with such prodigious 
success. The poem, from the pen of W. H. Wills, began 
characteristically — " One — crash ! Two — clash ! Three — dash ! 
Four — smash ! ! " and, not wholh^ without malevolence, de- 
scribed the popular conductor as a 

" ci-devatit waiter 
Of a quai'ante-sous traiteur" — 

jullien's Superb Vanity. 219 

thus laying the foundation for the charges of musical ignorance, 
illiteracy, musical-'' ghost "-employment, and other imposture, 
under which he suffered in this country nearly all his life. Jullien 
indignantly denied the hard impeachment, and declared that 
he began his musical life as a fifer in the French navy, and 
had in that capacity been present on a man-o'-war at the 
battle of Solferino in 1829. His assailant accepted the 
statement as to his militar}- achievement, adding the sug- 
gestion that after working himself up to more than 
concert pitch, and " holding in his hand one sharp, which 
he turned into several flats," Jullien withdrew from the 
service on account of the discord of battle, particularly as the 
shrieks of the wounded were horribly out of tune. 

Punch fell back on Jullien's well-oiled ringlets, his general 
temie and violent gesticulation, and, with better cause, on his 
"Row Polka," and on those wild and frenzied quadrilles in which 
the music in one part was " accentuated with a salvo of artillery." 
But Pu?ich, ignoring the better part of Jullien's musical ability, 
made no allowance for the curious quality of his mind, which 
was evidently ill-balanced, and indeed was finally overthrown. 
Jullien's vanity, for example, was sublime, rivalling that of 
the Knellers and Greuzes -of earlier days ; and his biogi"apher 
sets forth how, in the scheme he imagined for the civilisation 
of the world by means of music, he had determined (though 
essentially a " dance musician " ) to set to music the Lord's 
Prayer. It could not fail, said Jullien, to be an unprecedented 
success, with two of the greatest names in history on its 
title-page ! The musician ultimately died through overwork, 
the consequence of an honourable attempt to meet his lia- 

Sir Peter Laurie was another favourite quarry, who almost 
from the beginning was singled out of the Corporation, of which 
he was really one of the most efificient members, because he 
aimed at " putting down " by the stern administration of justice 
what, perhaps, could only be dealt with by s>-mpathy. Picnch 
chose to interpret Sir Peter's views into regarding po\erty 
less as a misfortune than as primd-facie evidence of the 
poor man's guilt or folly ; but it was when the well-meaning 

220 The History of " Punch T 

alderman so far " opened his mouth as to put his foot into 
it," by declaring, when trying a case, "that it was his in- 
tention to put down suicide," that Jerrold's pen stuck him 
on to PiincJi's page, and heaped ridicule on him from 
every point of view. Alderman Moon, the famous print- 
seller of Threadneedle Street, was another butt — the more 
unjustly (though he certainly did sometimes cut a ridiculous 
figure) as he rendered real ser^^ce to artists, and looked upon 
English art and its patronage in a broad and patriotic way, 
even while he made his own fortune in doing so. This, how- 
ever, he did not succeed in retaining, and his acts and motives 
were sneered at, and his " testimonial " fatally ridiculed. 

Then Harrison Ainsworth, as much for his good-looks 
and his literary vanity, as for his tendency to reprint his 
romances in such journals as came under his editorship, was 
the object of constant banter. An epigi^am put the case very 
neatly : — 

Says Ainsworth to Colburn,* 

" A plan in my pate is, 
To give my romance, as 

A supplement, gratis^ 
Says Colburn to Ainsworth, 

" 'Twill do yery nicely. 
For that will be charging 

Its value precisely." 

Harrison Ainsworth could not have his portrait painted, nor 
write a novel of crime and sensation, without being regarded 
as a convenient peg for pleasantry. Similarly did Tom Taylor 
fall foul of Bulwer Lytton (p. 91, Vol. IX.) by reason of the 
dedication of " Zanoni " to Gibson the sculptor, in which it 
was said that the book was not for " the common herd." The 
stor}' of Lytton's castigation by Tennyson is duly related 
where the Laureate's contributions to Punch are spoken of. 
In Lytton's case, at least, Punch forgot to apply Swift's 
aphorism that a man has just as much vanity as he has 

* His publisher. 

Art Criticism. 221 

Of the artists, Turner perhaps lent himself most to Punch's 
satire. Riiskin had not yet arisen to champion the mighty 
painter's ill-appreciated art ; and Tm-ner's colour-dreams, in 
which '' form " was often to a great extent ignored, were 
not more tempting to the satirical Philistine than those 
extraordinary quotations from his formless epic, called " The 
Fallacies of Hope," extracts from which he loved to append 
to his pictures' titles. Nothing could be better in the way 
of satire than the manner in which Punch turned upon the 
poor painter, and " guy'd " his picture with a burlesque of 
his own poetic "style." It was in the Royal Academy of 
1845 that the artist exhibited his celebrated "Venice — 
Returning from the Ball ; " and this is how Punch received 
it :— 

" Oh ! what a scene ! — Can this be Venice ? No. 
And 3'et methinks it is — because I see 
Amid the lumps of yellow, red, and blue 
Something which looks like a Venetian spire. 

* * * * -/r -> 

This in my picture I would fain convey ; 
I hope I do. Alas ! What fallacy ! '' 

Turner, unhappily, was acutely sensitive to these attacks ; 
but Punch cared little for that, and probably— to do him 
justice— knew still less. It is, however, notable that— doubtless 
on account of that very common-sense which has nearly 
alwa^'s kept him right on great questions— P//;/r// has usually 
in art been nearly as much a Philistine as the public he 
represents. When Sir Edward Bilrne-Jones burst forth into 
the artistic firmament, Punch joined, if not the mockers, at 
least the severer critics. " Burn Jones ? " said he ; " by 
all means do." Of the exquisite "Mirror of Venus" and 
" The Beguiling of ^Merlin " he ignored the poetry, and saw 
little but the quaintness, his criticism being the nrore weighty 
for its being clever. Of the first-named picture he observed :— 

" Or crowding round one pool, from flowery shelves 
A group of damsels bowed the knee 
Over reflections solid as themselves 
And like as peasen be." 

222 The History of " Puxch^' 

While in the latter 

"... mythic Uther's diddled son was seen 
Packed in a trvnik with cramped limbs aAvry, 
Spell-fettered by a Siren, limp and lean. 
And at least twelve heads high." 

Xo doubt, the grounds of Punch's opposition were not only 
those which are recognised as belonging to the humorist ; 
they consisted not a little in that healthy hatred of the affecta- 
tion with which so much good art is husked. In more recent 
times Punch did not ignore the fine decorative qualities ot 
Mr. Aubrey Beardsley's art, though he plainh* loathed the 
morbid ugliness of much of its conception and detail. 

Perhaps no one was more heartily attacked than Charles 
Kean — " Young Kean," it was the fashion to call him — 
probably because between Jerrold and the actor there had 
been a serious quarrel. As to this, which took its rise in 
the -^re-Punch days, nothing need here be said ; it is fully dealt 
with in the wit's biography. In the words of the present 
Editor : " Onlv tardily was something like justice done to 
Kean's influence on the drama of our time, by Punch, who 
had been one of the first to sound the note of warning about 
that ' stage-upholstery ' which was the first sign of the growth 
of realism in dramatic art." Punch loved to contrast the 
younger Kean with his more gifted father, and had no patience 
with the , raucous voice and bad enunciation of the son ; but 
his sketch of the actor as Sardanapalus (1853), "with a wine- 
cup of the period," sets on record one of the most perfect 
archaeological re\ivals that had ever been seen on the English 
stage. But it was Kean's " Mephistopheles " (1854) that 
afforded Punch his chance, for the actor's realisation was so 
wide of Goethe's creation that it was a Frenchified demon, 
played as a comic character. Punch admitted the beauty of 
the production, but said that " as a piece of show and 
mechanism (wires unseen) it will draw the eyes of the town, 
especially the eyes with the least brains behind them." Kean's 
performance was denounced as devoid of life and beauty, 
btit generous praise was accorded to his newly made-up nose. 

" The Pecksxiffery." 223 

to which the best part of the criticism was devoted. " It 
has the true demoniacal curve," he said; "we never saw a 
better view of the devil's bridge." And so, throughout, Punch 
dogged Kean's progress. But as time went on, his criticism 
lost the taint of personal feeling; and Kean was recognised at 
last as our leading tragedian, though to the end he was never 
accepted as a great actor. 

A pretty accurate estimate as to Punch's pet " black beasts " 
and popular butts at this time may be fonned b}- the list drawn 
up in the paper of those persons whom Punch would exercise 
his right to " challenge " if, in accordance with ]Mr, Serjeant 
]Murphy's suggestion in the House of Commons, Punch were 
put upon his trial for conspiracy, apropos of Cobden. From 
such a jur}-, we are told, there would be struck off, in addition 
to those names already given, Mr. Grant (author of '' The 
Great ^Metropolis "), Baron Xathan the composer. Alderman 
Gibbs, D. W. Osbaldiston (of the Surrey Theatre), Colonel 
Sibthorpe, and ]Moses the tailor. ' 

In dealing with the work of Jerrold, I draw attention to 
the merciless onslaught on Samuel Carter Hall, editor of the 
"Art Journal" and founder of the "Art Union/' as it was 
at first called. Hall was Pecksnitf; the "Art Union" was 
" The Pecksnifferv ; " and Punch courted the libel action 
which Hall threatened but failed to bring. That " the literary 
Pecksniff" took this course could not but create a bad 
impression at the time, and Hall has therefore been put 
down as one of the butts whom Punch had justly assailed. 
Of course his sententious catch-phrase of appealing to " hand, 
head, and heart " was always made the most of, and Punch 
delighted in paraphrasing it as "gloves, hat, and waistcoat." 

But the two non-political persons whom Punch most 
persistent!}- and ^•igorously attacked were Mr. James Silk 
Buckingham and Mr. Alfred Bunn ; and these two campaigns 
must, perhaps, be counted the most elaborate of their kind 
which Punch has undertaken in his career— though in neither 
had he verv much to be proud of when all was said and done. 
Vlx. J. S. Buckingham, sometime Member of Parliament, was 
a gentleman philanthropically inclined and of literary instincts, 

224 The History of '' PunchT 

a man ^vho had travelled greath;. and who in many of the 
schemes he had undertaken — including the founding of the 
" Athenaeum " in 1S28 — had usually had the support of a number 
of the most reputable persons in the country. His latest 
idea was the establishing of the British and Foreign Institute 
— a sort of counterpart in intention of the present Colonial 
Institute ; but as all of ls\x. Buckingham's schemes had not suc- 
ceeded, and as he retained chambers in the club-house of what 
Punch insisted upon calling the " British and Foreign [or 
' Outlandish '] Destitute," the journal was convinced that some- 
thing more than a primd-facie case had been made out against 
the promoter, who, being assumed to live upon the members' 
subscriptions, was harried in the paper from its first volume, 
chiefly at first by the slashing pen of Jerrold, and — in small 
paragi"aphs — by the more delicate rapier of Horace Mayhew. 
These charges of mal-administration and other offensive impu- 
tations against a semi-public man whose chief faults seem to 
have been an over-sanguine temperament and a slight disposition 
towards self-advertisement, attracted wide notice, and Punch 
devoted in all considerable space to the prosecution of this 
mistaken campaign. Unfortunately for, a member 
of the Institute, a ls\x. George Jones — who had published a good 
deal of dramatic nonsense under the title of " Tecumseh " — 
came to his support with a ridiculous, inflated letter, which 
Punch promptly printed with the signature engraved in facsimile. 
Thereupon Jones, finding the doubtful honour of publicity 
unexpectedly thrust upon him, denounced the letter as a 
forgery ; so Punch had it lithogi'aphed and circulated among 
the members, ''just to show how good the forgery was." 
Jones forthwith began an action for libel, which Punch 
defended. The genuineness of the document, however, was 
established, and Jones withdrew from the action, paying all 

The sins of Jones were naturally added to Buckingham's 
account, and the latter decided— as Leech once effectively 
threatened to do — to "'draw " and defend himself. He pub- 
lished a pamphlet entitled ''The Slanders oi Punch," felicitoush' 
quoting as his motto ft^om Proverbs xxvi. 18, "As a mad man 

The James Silk Buckingham Episode. 22 


who casteth firebrands, arrows, and death, so is the man that 
deceiveth his neighbour, and saith, Am not I in sport ? " — he 
appealed for justice to the pubhc, and especially to " the 200,000 
readers of Punch," denouncing the persecution, and making 
known the fact that J err old had originally applied for mem- 
bership of his Institute, but had failed to take up his elec- 
tion, whereupon his name was erased from the books. Ten 
thousand handbills were circulated, and six thousand copies 
of the threepenny pamphlet, in various editions, were sold. 
Punch's answer was a whole page of savage, biting satire 
from Jerrold (p. 241, \o\. IX.), which, however, was too 
bombastic and " ultrafluvial " to be wholly effective. 
Thackeray's page article on "John Jones's Remonstrance 
about the Buckingham Business" fp. 261) was far more to 
the point — amusing, politic, and shrewd — and drew the 
quarrel within its proper limits, by imparting to it a more 
jocular tone. Addressing the paper, he says, "At page 241 
you are absolutely serious. That page of Punch is a 
take-in. Punch ought never to be ^-irtuously indignant or 
absolutely serious ; " and with these words, re-afifinning the 
maxim which Punch had forgotten in his heat, he restored 
peace, patched up the paper's reputation for good-humour, 
and with a skilful word covered its retreat. 

But Punch found his Waterloo, as it was considered at the 
time, at the hands of Alfred Bunn. Bunn was the theatrical 
and operatic manager and man of letters — or, rather, as the 
letters were so insignificant, the "man of notes." As early as 
1 81 6 he had produced a volume of verse. Such verse ! — senti- 
mental, washy, and " woolly " to a degree. Three years later he 
put his name to " ' Tancred: a Tale,' by the author of ' Conrad : 
a Tragedy,' lately performed at the Theatre Royal, Bimiing- 
ham " — of which he was manager for a spell before he came to 
London — and from time to time he gave forth other works, such 
as "The Stage, both Before and Behind the Curtain," three 
volumes of rather shrewd "Observations taken on the Spot" 
(1840), and "Old England and Xew England" (1853). He 
delivered lectures, too, at the St. James's Theatre, three times 
a week, on the History of the Stage, and the Genius and 

226 The History of ''Punchy 

Career of Shakespeare — lectures which he also delivered 
in America. His verses, though vapid balderdash for the 
most part, were well adapted to music, and his ballads 
"When other Lips and other Hearts," "The Light of other 
Days," "In Happy Moments Day by Day" (sung in Fitzball's 
" Maritana "), enjoyed enormous popularity. 

Still, the whole attitude, the whole bearing of the man — 
his showy, almost comic, appearance and his grandiloquence 
of expression — as well as the tremendous character of the word- 
ing of his theatrical bills, afforded points of attack from the 
moment that he caught the public eye, that no caricaturist or 
humorist could resist. As early as 1832 Jerrold was lampoon- 
ing him in his "Punch in London." In the following year 
Thackeray held him up to ridicule in his " National Standard," 
that was fated to collapse a few months later, and honoured 
him with immortality in " Flore and Zephyr ; "* and soon after, 
Gilbert a Beckett satirised . him in "Figaro in London." In 
1833 "Alfred the Little ; or. Management ! A Play as rejected 
at Drury Lane, by a Star-gazer," was another satire of distinct 

It is not surprising, therefore, that as soon as Punch was 
started the wits combined to continue the game which 
they had already separately enjoyed, and which the public 
presumably found amusing. The other papers joined in 
Pwich's cry, the "Great Gun" showing pre-eminent zeal in its 
stalking of "Signor Bombastes Bunnerini." From the moment 
of Punch's birth onwards, Bunn was one of his most ludicrous 
and fairest butts. When he wrote verse, he was "The Poet 
Bunn ; " when he was annoyed at that, or anything else, he 
was " Hot Cross Bunn." His deposition from the manage- 
ment of Drury Lane and his appointment to the Vauxhall 
Gardens were coincident with Punch's appearance, and the 
publication of his " Vauxhall Papers," illustrated by Alfred 
Crowquill, again drew attention to himself. No sooner was the 
fierce controversy begun as to the propriety of including a statue 
of Cromwell among the Sovereigns of England in the new 

* Edmund Yates believed that Bunn was Thackeray's model also for 
Mr. Dolphin, the manager, in " Pendennis.'" 

Bunn's Dash for Liberty. 227 

Palace of Westminster, a matter decided fifty years later, 
than Punch gravely mooted the question — " Shall Poet 
Bunn have a Statue ? " Then when his reira at Drm-\' Lane 
was resumed, and opera was his gi^and enterprise, Bunn 
became Fundi s '' Parvus Apollo," while Scribe's libretto to 
Donizetti's music was to be "undone into English" b}' the 
Poet himself; and the persecuted manager was throughout 
the subject of some of the happiest and most comic efforts of 
Leech's pencil. 

At last, after supporting a six years' persistent cannonade, 
Bunn detemiined to strike a blow for liberty. His plan was 
to issue a reply — a swift and sudden attack, as personal and 
offensive as he could make it — in the form of Punch's own 
self, enough like it in appearance to amuse the public, if not 
actually to deceive it. He secured the help of 'Six. George 
Augustus Sala, then a young artist whose pencil was enlisted in 
the service of "The Man in the Moon," and who had as vet 
little idea of the journalistic eminence to which he was to 
rise. He had previously submitted sketches to Mark Lemon 
for use in Punch, which had been summarily and, as he tells 
me, " unctuously declined," and in his share of the work he 
doubtless tasted some of the sweets of revenge, and richh' 
earned the epithet which Lemon thereupon applied to him of 
"graceless young whelp." 

If the front page of this production be compared with 
Doyle's first Punch cover on p. 47, the extent of the imitation 
will be appreciated. The size was the same, and the Punch 
lettering practically identical ; but otherwise the resemblance 
was of a general character. If the design is examined, it will 
be seen that the gi^oups are chiefly composed of Punch's 
victims and his Staff. At the top the " ^Nlan in the Moon " 
presides; below, the "Great Gun" is firing away at the 
dejected hunchback in the pillory. Toby is hanged on his 
master's own gallows ; and the puppets are strewn about, 
Thackeray leans for support against Punch's broken big drum ; 
Tom Taylor is beside him — Horace (" Ponny ") Mayhew 
lies helpless in his box ; while next to him Gilbert a Beckett 
is prone upon his face, leaving his barrister's wig upon the 
p 2 

228 The History of ''Punch!' 

"block-head." Jerrold, as a wasp, is gazing ruefully at the 
baton which has dropped from Punch's feeble hands ; and 
Mark Lemon, dressed as a pot-boy, is straining himself in the 
foreground to reach his pewter-pot. Around float many of 
Pimch's butts, political and social. Wellington on the left and 
Brougham on the right play cup-and-ball with him. Louis 
Philippe has him on a toasting-fork, and Lord John Russell 
hangs him on a gallows-tree. Palmerston, Prince de Join\'ille, 
Jullien, Sibthorpe, Moses the tailor, Buckingham, and many 
more besides, are to be recognised. It was inscribed "No. i, 
— (to be continued if necessary) " — a contingency, however, 
that did not arise. 

It is usually considered that Bunn engaged a clever writer 
to write his text for him ; but it is quite likely that he wrote 
the whole work himself, simply submitting it to the " edit- 
ing" of some more experienced journalist, probably Albert 
Smith. Much of the manner is his own, and, as Mr. Joseph 
Knight agrees,* it " has many marks of Bunn's style, and is 
in part incontestably his." 

His "Word" is directed at Pwich's "three Puppets — 
Wronghead (Mr. Douglas Jerrold), Sleekhead (Mr. Gilbert a 
Beckett), and Thickhead (Mr. Mark Lemon) — formidable 
names. Punch! and, as being three to one, formidable odds!" 
He refers to his friends having warned him not to rebel against 
Punch's attacks, as he is 

a public character 1 ! Pray, Punch, are not these, your puppets, 
public characters ? Have they not acted in public, laboured for 
the public, catered for the public ? Has not Douglas Jerrold been 
hissed off the stage bv the public ? Have not a Beckett's writings ! 
been acted, and damned, in public ? and as to Mark Lemon, there 
can be no doubt of J2ts being a public character, for he some time 
since kept a />ub/zc-h.ouse I ! ! All ceremony therefore is at an end 
between us. . . . There may be other misdemeanours of which they 
have from time to time thought me guilty ; but the grand one of 
all is, that I have taken the liberty of attempting to write poetry, 
and have produced on the stage my own works in preference to 
theirs. . . . Did you ever see them act. Punch ? Did you ever see 

* "Dictionary of National Biography." 

A Word with Punchy 


Douglas Jerrold in his own piece, entitled "The Painter of Ghent"? 
If not, I can only say you are a devilish luck}' fellow ! Did )'ou ever 

i, Jobnaon. PriDCer, 

•4. S(. M»rti(.') Lara 

{Dt'si^neti by George Augustus Sala.) 

see him and Mark Lemon act at Miss Kelly's theatre? and if 
so, did you ever see such an awful exhibition ? . . . and it, as they 

230 The History of '' Punch!' 

say, they did " hold the mirror up to Nature," / say it was only to 
cast reflections upon her ! ! Did you read, Punch, the criticisms 
written by themselves upon themselves in the next day's papers ? If 
you did not, you have a treat to come. 

And so forth. Then, presenting the head of Jerrold 
on the body of an unusually wriggling serpent, which he 
gives forth as being from "portraits in possession of the 
family," he goes on to "say something" of the man of 
savage sarcasm and " bihous bitings : " — 

Now, with all his failings, let me record my opinion that it is to 
Jerrold's pen you are indebted, Punch, for the fame 3'ou once en- 
joyed ; for, beyond any doubt, he is a fellow of infinite abilit}-. I 
have known him some years, and the last time but one I ever saw 
him was in 1842, when, meeting me in St. James's Street, he thanked 
me for a handsome critique he believed me to have written on his 
comedy of " Bubbles of the Day," and on that occasion he said a 
better thing. Punch, than he has written in your pages. I said 
to him, " What, you are picking up character, I suppose ? " — to 
which he replied, " There's plenty of it lost, in this neighbourhood." 
The last time I ever heard from him was during the first visit of 
Duprez to Drury Lane Theatre, when I received the following note 
from him : — 


" My dear Sir, 

Will vou enable me to hear j-our French nightingale 
— do pray, Yours very trul\-, 

D. Jerrold." 

— which is the vilest pun ever perpetrated at the expense of that 
eminent singer. . . . Unlike the other two of his party, he is a 
man of undoubted genius ; but all who admit this, at the same time 
regret the frequent misdirection of his mind. He is one of the 
most ill-conditioned, spiteful, vindictive, and venomous writers in 
existence, and whatever honev was in his composition, has long 
since turned to gall. . . . Can it be possible [he adds, after digging 
up and quoting some of Jerrold's feeblest verse] that it never occurs 
to a wholesale dealer in slander and ridicule that he is liable to 
be assailed by the very weapons he useth against others ? 

Then comes the portrait of Gilbert Abbott a Beckett, in wig 
and gown, but with devil's hoofs and tail. On him the attack 

"Punch" Retires into his Tent. 231 

is savage in the extreme, the details of his early lack of finan- 
cial success being published, and the whole dismissed with the 
comprehensive remark : '' a very prolific person, this friend 
of yours, Punch ! — editor of thirteen periodicals, and lessee 
of a theatre into the bargain, and all total failures ! " After 
heavy-handed chaff he proceeds to abuse Mark Lemon, up 
and down, in similar terms; and with a view to show that 
others write verse as bad as his, reprints the weakest lines in 
his " Fridolin " and " The Rhine-boat." In the courSe of his 
very effective attack Bunn proceeds : — 

In speaking of the Castle of Heidelberg, which he says is on 
the Rhine, although everyone else says it is on the Neckar, he 
thus apostrophises it : — 

" 'Tis here the north wind loves to hold 
His dreary revels, loud and cold. 
The nettle's bloom 's his daily fare. 
The TOAD the guest most ivclcomc there! 1^'' 

Whether the last line gives the reason why Thickhead visited 
Heidelberg does not appear. 

He then dots epigrams and so forth — all insults of various 
degrees of offensiveness — about the remaining pages, virtually 
suggesting, in Sheridan's words, that while Punch's circulation 
has gone down hopelessly, " everything about him is a jest ex- 
cept his witticisms." The advertisements, too, are of a similarly 
satirical charficter, one of them showing, as an illustration 
of a ''patent blacking," Mark Lemon (as pot-boy) looking at 
his own likeness in the polish of a Wellington boot which 
reflects a rearing donkey. The last cut represents a medi- 
cine bottle with a label inscribed " This dose to be repeated, 
should the patients require it," and the " Notice to Corre- 
spondents " declares that ample material is left for future use. 
Such further publication, however, was never called for. Punch 
attempted no reply — inexplicably, one would think, for there 
must have been something left to say of Hot Cross Bunn. 
Punch's rivals were not slow to twit him on his defeat, 
especially the "Puppet Show" and "The Man in the Moon," 
the latter of which, in a comic report of the proceedings at 

232 The History of "Punch." 

the "Licensing Committee for Poets," remarked, "Mr. Alfred 
Bunn was bitterly opposed on personal grounds by a person 
named Punch ; but Mr. Bunn having intimated his wish to 
have a Word with Punch, the latter skulked out of court, and 
was not heard of afterwards!' 

"A Word with Punch" — which the Punch men are said 
to have bought up as far as possible — had a considerable sale, 
and an "edition de luxe" was also issued, coloured. The 
engi'avings in it were made by Landells, a modest piece of 
vengeance which must, however, have been gratifying, so far 
as it went. It may be added that J. R. Adam, " the Cremorne 
Poet," took up the cudgels unasked in Punch's behalf in a 
reply entitled "A Word with Bunn ; " but this little octavo is 
as insignificant as its author, and attracted little notice. 

Once again, in the early days of " Fun," Punch came 
very near to being startled with another such infernal 
machine. Mr. Clement Scott tells me : — " We were offended 
with Punch for some reason — it was in the Tom Ta^'lor days 
—and we meditated, planned out, and nearly executed a 
second edition of 'A Word with Punch.' Tom Hood was 
furious. Sala was in our conspiracy. In fact, all the ' young 
lions' of 'Fun' were ' crazy \ mad.' We thought we could 
annihilate poor old Punch with one blow. But we never did 
it — because, I thinlc, although we were pluck}', we were im- 
pecunious ! We were ver}' proud, but, alas ! our pockets 
were empty ; so the whole company — Hood, Sala, Jeff Prowse, 
Harry Leigh, Brunton, Paul Gra}', W. S. Gilbert, W. B. 
Rands, Tom Robertson, Clement Scott and Co., had to knock 

From Bunn's time may be dated the better taste and 
greater chivalr}- that have since distingiiished Punch, even 
in his most rampant moods. He has always had his butts 
— from the soft-hearted and, at the time, unpardonably hir- 
sute Colonel Sibthorpe, to Sir R. Temple and Mr. McNeill, 
Mr. Newdegate, Mr. Roebuck, Edwin James, ex-O.C. (who 
was disbarred for corruption and set up in New York, join- 
ing, as Pimch put it, the " bar sinister "), Madame Rachel 
(the "beautiful for ever" enameller, who had not yet been 

Effective Satire. 233 

con^'icted), Colonel North, Sir Francis Baring, Cox of Fins- 
bury, Wiscount Williams of Lambeth, the Duke of Buccleuch, 
Lord Malmsbury, and a host of others. But his attacks rarely 
overstepped' due limits ; nor did Punch ever find another 
aspiring Bunn among them. Amongst the inanimate objects 
which at various times Punch made his mark were Trafalgar 
Square and its Fountains (or the "Squirts," as they were 
scornfully called), the National Gallery, Mud-Salad Market, 
Leicester Square, the Wellington Statue on the Wellington 
Arch, the Great Exhibition, John Bell's Guards' Memorial 
in Waterloo Place, and the British ]\Iuseum Catalogue — all 
of which, so far as they represented Londoners' gi'ievances, 
have ere now been reformed. 




Satire and Libel — Mrs. Ramsbotham Assaulted — Attacks of "The Man in the 
Moon " and "The Puppet-Show " — H. S. Leigh's Banter — Malicious Wit — 
Mr. Pincott — Puiuh's Purity gives Offence — His Slips of Fact — Quotation 
— And Dialect are Resented — His Drunkards not Appreciated by the U.K. A. 
• — "Punch is not as good as it was!" 

Above the head of every editor the law of hbel hangs hke 
the sword of Damocles. It is at all times difficult for a 
newspaper of any sort to avoid the infringement of its 
provisions, vigilant though the editor may be. But in the 
case of a confessedly "satirical" journal the danger is enor- 
mouslv increased, for the margin between " fair comment " 
and flat libel shrinks strangely when the raison d'etre of the 
criticism is pungency, and the object laughter. 

That Punch has steered clear of giving serious offence, 
save on occasions extremely few, must be counted to him for 
righteousness. It is true that, as a Lord Chancellor once 
declared, ^^ Punch is a chartered libertine." But for him to 
have won his "charter" at all proves him at least to have 
been worthy of it, the tolerance and indulgence of the nation, 
hax-ing been in themselves a temptation. It is not so much that 
he has not hit hard ; it is rather that he has hit straight. 
Indeed, as we have seen, he has struck hastily in many direc- 
tions ; but, save in his years of indiscretion, he has scarcely 
ever been guiltv of anvthing approaching scurrility. At a time 
when the " Satirist " was flinging its darts at the peculiarly 
vulnerable Duke of Brunswick, goading him into the writing 
of his pamphlets, and into that crushing retaliation whereby 
the paper was condemned in five thousand pounds damages, 
Punch was perhaps the most moderate public censor and 
arbiter clegantiarum amongst all those who used ridicule and 
irony as instruments of castigation ; and indulgence has been 
the reward that he has reaped. 

Egg-Dance Among Legal Proceedings. 235 

That Mr. George Jones and Mr. S. C. Hall dared not face 
the ultimate ordeal of a court of law must be held to justify 
PuncJis persistently caustic denunciations ; while the case of 
Mr. Gent-Davis, then M.P. for Kennington, served chiefly to 
confirm the fact that "abstractions" and "imaginary person- 
ages" find their counterparts, in the opinions of some, in real 
life. In this case one of the Staff, who lived in the member's 
constituency, and had taken some interest in local politics, 
contributed a humorous paper to a series on which he was 
engaged, and it was published in Punch (November 13, 1886). 
In this essay a type of suburban lady -politician — a " study 
from Mr. Punch's Studio " — was satirised under the name of 
"Mrs. Gore-Jenkins." Forthwith a summons against the Editor 
at the Mansion House police court was the result, for the 
Member accepted the description as directed against his wife ; 
but the explanation that the article was intended as a mere 
political satire on an "imaginary person" was held to be 
satisfactory, and the incident was finally closed. 

On another occasion an unflattering poem on a "popular 
singer " was illustrated, quite innocently by the artist, who 
probably never saw the verses, with what appeared to be a 
portrait of Mr. Isidore de Lara ; but no sooner was the matter 
pointed out than any intention to offend the musician was im- 
mediately disclaimed by the paper. At another time one of 
PiincJis artists showed the little band of Socialists (Messrs. 
Champion, Hyndman, and others), who were then before the 
law on a political charge, as subjects of Punch's traditional 
" summary justice." But although Punch was quickly brought 
to book, his victims did not take the matter very seriously. 
Mr. John Burns, indeed, confesses as much in a communication 
upon the subject. " On one occasion," he tells me, " Punch 
suspended me, pictorially of course, from a gallows tree. This 
I, of course, regarded as Mr. Punch's humorous desire to 
see me in an elevated position. On other occasions he has 
been equally kind but less appropriate in his method ot 
praise or censure." 

Punch has altogether had some two-score actions com- 
menced, or threatened, against it, by business firms or aggrieved 

236 The History of "Punch." 

persons or, more often still, b}' newspapers on the ground of 
libel and kindred wrongdoing. But then, consider how many 
there are in the world, and in England especially, who will 
not see a joke ! 

A subject upon which Punch has for some years been 
persistently twitted is the personality of " ^Nlrs. Ramsbotham " 
— Thackeray's Mrs. Julia Dorothea Ramsbottom of " The Snob " 
(No. 7, Ma}^, 1829) — a homely sort of Mrs. Malaprop, whose 
constant misquotations and misapplication of words of some- 
what similar sound to those she intends to use give constant 
amusement to one section of Punch's readers, and irritation quite 
as constant to the other. She is the lady who suffers from 
a "torpedo liver;" wdio complains of being "a mere siphon 
in her own house ; " who discharges her gardener because 
his answers to her questions are so "amphibious;" and who 
does not understand how there can be " illegal distress " in 
a free country where people ma}- be as unhappy as they 
like. There have, of course, been many originals to this 
unconscious humorist — and are still. One lady, it has been 
declared, is not unknown in society, who has held forth to a 
surprised circle of her acquaintances on the operation of 
"trigonometry" (tracheotomy) — who, when she imparted a 
bit of scandal would add, "but that, you know, as the 
lawyers say, is inter alias" — and who wished that people 
would always say what they meant, and not talk paregorically 

"Mrs. Ramsbotham" is obviously descended, through 
Mrs. Malaprop, from Dogberry, and has many a time been 
" condemned to everlasting redemption," at least by the genus 
irritahile. One critic cast his protest in the form of a poetic 
appeal to Punch, and published it in an Oxford journal : — 

" Of Mrs. Ram I wish to speak, 

You dear old London Charivari ; 
Don't ram her down our throats each week. 
Of sameness do be chary. Vary." 

A broader and severer hint was offered by the lively Poet 
of the London " Globe " : — 

Persecution of Mrs. Ramsbotham. 237 

To Mrs. Ramsbotham. 

A few there be who still delight, 

O Mrs. R., in PuncKs page, 
Who like a joke to wear the blight 
Of age. 

Who, if they find a grain of wheat, 

Are well content to pass the chaff. 
And, every week, at least complete 
One laugh. 

But even they who swallow pun 

Unmurm'ring, now and then declare, 
Henceforward they must seek their fun 

It is when you have multiplied 

Your misconceptions, Mrs. Ram., 
That patience, sorely thus o'er-tried, 
Says " ." 

My task is therefore plain : to hint 

That you, true woman to the core, 
Are, when you interfere with print, 
A bore. 

I would not venture to suggest 

The line of conduct to pursue ; 
I state a fact. .... and leave the rest 
To you. 

But, in spite of this bitter cry, the next week's number of 
Punch contained a quarter of a page of the lady's reminis- 
cences and three misapprehensions. ''O," exclaimed the 
tormented Poet, ''that some Abraham would arise to do 
sacrifice!" Later on Mr, Furniss arose to the call, as the 
murderous Barons responded to Henry's ejaculation. In " Lika 
Joko" (November 3, 1894) there was printed an obituary 
notice of Mrs. Ramsbotham (as nothing in her name had 
appeared in the previous week's Punch), and a very comic 
death-bed scene was presented— reminding one of a similar 
incident in ''Joe Miller the Younger," when that paper, 

2^8 The History of ''Punch!' 

like many of the public, grew tired of Mrs. Caudle, and, 
reporting her "sudden death," published an engraving by 
Hine, wherein Punch in weepers is seen laying a wreath 
upon her monument, while Toby and his baton are both 
decorated with crape. In " Lika Joko's " presentation of her 
" momentnin niori," she babbles of things in general ; she is 
nervous as to the physic handed to her, and remarks that 
these medicine bottles are as like to one another as the two 
Dominoes in the " Comedy of Horrors ; " she declares, as 
her mind wanders to the Chino-Japanese war, that "the best 
remedy for political disorders is antimony, but things may be 
different in horizontal nations ; " and, finally, as she sinks back 
in death, she fancies she sees a hand a'Becketting to her. But 
Punch ignored the attack ; and the report of the death of his 
lady-correspondent was duly recognised as a canard. 

But " Lika Joko " is b}' no means the only comic paper 
that has attacked Punch, smiting him hip and thigh. The 
violent charges of plagiarism which for many }-ears it was 
the fashion to bring against him have already been re- 
ferred to. From the beginning the principal — as it is the 
easiest — charge that has been made is the alleged heaviness 
of Punch s fun or his deficiency of wit ; less often, it has 
been a legitimate complaint of blunder or of journalistic wrong- 
doing. Some of the most violent of these attacks came from the 
aforesaid "Joe Miller," and from "The Great Gun" — the short- 
lived journal of distinct abiht}'. In " The Man in the Moon " 
the pens of Shirley Brooks, James Hannay, and other wits 
made it distinctly uncomfortable for Punch — but nothing more. 
Thus to a portrait of Mr. Punch, who is shown in the last 
degree of misery, is appended the legend, " A Case of Real 
Distress. — 'I haven't made a joke for many weeks !'" (Novem- 
ber, 1847). In the next number appeared the brilliant verses, 
"Our Flight with Punch," from Shirley Brooks' pen, as well 
as a sketch of a man speechless with amazement, described 
as the "Portrait of a Gentleman finding a Joke in Punch." 
Then there is the riddle, " Why is a volume of Punch like 
a pot of bad tea ? — Because it is full of slow leaves;" and in 
the same number, a biting satire in anticipation of a play 

Mr. Punch as St. Sebastian. 239 

written bv some of the Punch Staff and produced at Covent 
Garden in aid of the family of Leigh Hunt, ends with the 
words, " Everv resorter to the stalls and boxes will be ex- 
pected to purchase a copy of either ' Dombey,' Punch, or 
* Jerrold's Weekly Newspaper,' as, next to benevolence, it 
is in aid of those works that the chief actors appear. X.B. — 
Strong coffee will be pro^'ided to keep the audience awake 
throughout the performance. Vivant Bradbury ct Evans ! " 

"The Puppet-Show" followed on the same lines, but 
its attacks were more personal. Under the heading of " A 
Trio of Punchites" (April, 1848), Thackeray, Douglas Jerrold, 
and Gilbert a Beckett were torn limb ff-om limb, and later on 
Mark Lemon and the rest were added to the holocaust ; yet, 
like the Cardinal of Rheims' congi-egation, nobody seemed a 
penny the worse. The paper began its fusillade in the first 
number, and soon came out with a large picture, well drawn 
and engraved in the manner of the day, of Mr. Punch, much 
humiliated, receiving a lecture fi"om ]\Ir. Bull : — 

Shameful Attempt at Overcharge ! 

Mr. Bull /"a commercial gentleman) — " Hallo, Mr. Punch, 
threepence ! What do you mean by threepence ? Why. the 
Puppet-Showman supplies a better paper for a penny ! You must 
mind what you are about ! " 

Mr. Punch — " Well, sir, you may think it too much, but 
really the article is so very heavy I cannot sell it for less." 

On another occasion the same idea is carried a step further, 
in the form of an advertisement : '' XoTiCE.— If the heavy 
joke, which was sent to the 'Puppet-Show' office last :\Ionday, 
and for which two-and-ninepence was charged, be not Ibrth- 
with removed, it will be sold to Punch to pay expenses ; " 
and later on it hints that the Parisians will do well to import 
a few of Punch's jokes as the best of all possible material 
for the barricades they were then erecting (1848). A graver 
charge was contained under the heading, " On Sale or 
Hire," and it ran : " We perceive, by an advertisement in 
Punch, that the entire work can be purchased for £.\ los. 

240 The History of ''Punch!' 

Judging from its ridiculous puffs of Her Majesty's Theatre, 
we should sa}' that it could always be bought by a box at 
the Opera." This amiable paragraph appeared in a lively 
column which was a weekly feature of the paper, and was 
headed "Pins and Needles." " Pasquin," a rival ''comic" 
edited by Mr. Sutherland Edwards, was always "bandying 
epithets " with the Showman, and no sooner was the column 
introduced than he drew pleasing attention to the fact in 
the following paragraph : " The ' Puppet-Show ' has started 
'Pins and Needles.' We don't wonder at it. 'Pins and 
Needles ' are always a sign of a defective circulation." 

From time to time, too, pamphlets have been directed 
against Punch, such as the "Anti-Punch,"* published by 
the men who naturally fall under the lash of a satirist, and 
resent its application. Of such was the widely circulated 
" Phrenological Manipulation of the Head of Punch I' written 
by George Combe about 1845, in the form of an open letter. 
It began, " Sir, you are not an honest man. . . . Practically 
your benevolence is merely professional, it is only for the 
readers oi Punch. Why do you act like Toby in the manger ?" 
But there is little wit and less reason in these booklets to 
recommend, or to justify aught but oblivion. 

A more able and important foe than these was Harry 
S. Leigh, who in 1864 was editor of "The Arrow," with 
Mortimer Collins as verse-writer and jVIatt Morgan as car- 
toonist. Leigh opened his attack with rhymes that were 
greatly enjoyed at the time. They ran thus : — 

Rhymes for a Big Baby. 
No. I. 

" Sad stuff of Lemon's," 
Think the bells of St. Clement's ; 

" Not worth five farthings," 
Sneer the bells of St. Martin's ; 

" Going down daily." 
Grunt the bells of Old Bailey ; 

*" Anti-Punch, or the Toy-shop in Fleet Street; a Romance of the Nine- 
teenth Century." By the Author of " Anti-Coningsby." i6mo. 1847. 

H. S. Leigh Reinforces the Attacking Party. 241 

" Oiicc it was rich," 
Hint the bells of Shoreditch ; 

" ^^^len could tlmt be ? " 
Ask the bells of Step-i:ey ; 

" Hanged if / know," 
Growls the big bell at Bow. 

No. 11. 

Sing a song of threepence, 

A paper full of trash ; 
Four-and-twenty " funny men " 

Have made a pretty hash ; 
For when the paper's opened, 

One soon begins to sing — 
"Oh! threepence is a daint}- price 

To pay for such a thing." 

And he returns to the charge later on in a set of verses 
in which he pretends to pay tribute to Punch's bygone force — 
"honest if delicate " — and to Judy's and Toby's straightforward 
roughness. After mak'ng charges of corruption, he proceeds : 

' ' Alas I how times and manners pass ! 

When no one fears a panic — 
When Scotland tolerates the Mass — 

And Spain is puritanic ; 
When Yankee ' anacondas ' scrunch 

The South's heroic leader — 
Then maN- we find a pleasant Punchy 

And Punch a happv reader." 

Nowadavs the commoner form of humorous attack upon 
Punch is the assumption that it is a serious journal : a cold- 
blooded analysis of its contents will be made, or the quotation 
of its best bits under the ungrateful title of " Alleged Humour 
from Punch ;" or a joke will be printed and savagely "quoted" 
as " From )U'.xt wee/i's Punch." When the three " Xew 
Humorists, ' Messrs. Barry Pain, Jerome, and Zangwill, were 
driven to despair (so says one of them) by the sneers of the 
Press, they met in solemn conclave and swore ne\'er to make 
another joke. So Mr. Zangwill set to work at a serious novel. 

242 The History of " Pua'ch." 

Mr. Jerome took to editing a weekly paper, and Mr. Pain 
began writing for Punch ! Even when Mr. Pincott, for 
thirty years the "reader" on the paper, committed suicide 
the day after his wife was buried, a number of papers could 
not resist the temptation that was offered. " Fancy having to 
read through all Punch s jokes week after week for 3'ears ! " 
exclaimed one. " No wonder we are a hardy race. Xo 
wonder the poor man shot himself." Mr. Pincott was a man 
of great ability, of remarkable erudition, and extreme conscien- 
tiousness. Although his bereavement was preying on his mind, 
he saw the paper out, and did not commit the fatal act until 
he had sent his usual letter to the Editor, wherewith he would 
relieve himself of his week's responsibility. " I never met a 
man with so much information and of so varied a character," 
writes one of his fellow-workers. " He never passed a 
quotation without verifying it, and could give you chapter 
and verse for everything. He knew his Shakespeare by 
heart, and all the modern poets, and he was never at fault 
in his classics." He was not, however, allowed to leave 
the world without a farewell gibe and a laugh, for Wit 
knows no mercv. 

Another main charge laid at Punch's door is that he is too 
little like Hogarth in the past, too little like French satirists 
in the present. Thackeray's proud boast that the paper had 
never said aught that could cause a girl's cheek to mantle with 
a blush,^ is acknowledged by the naturalist and realist of the 
day as the severest condemnation that could be brought against 
it. "We do not want in Punch a moral paper virginibus 
puerisquc," says M. Arsene Alexandre, in effect, in his important 
work " L'Art du Rire ; " " Punch is un pen trop gentleman. 
What we want is to be enlightened." But Punch has not 
chosen to cast the beams of his search-light on to that side 
of " life " which is turned towards vice ; and if he deter- 
mines that the liaisons and all the attendant world of humour 
that afford inspiration to the talent of the Grevins, the 

* This declaration, if not absolutely accurate, has often been repeated, and 
was confirmed at the Church Congress of 1893 by Dr. Welldon, who held up 
Punch as the one clean paper for the rest of the Press to follow ! 

The Pleasures of Fault-finding. 243 

Forains, the Giiillauines, and the Willettes of France, are 
outside his field of treatment, who shall blame him ? If 
there is any moral at all to be gleaned from the work of the 
Punch caricaturists, it is argued, it is the never-ending sermon, 
though the sermon is a humorous one, of the non-existence 
of immorality. Perhaps ; but Punch does not aspire to reflect 
the savagery we call civilisation by painting a Hogarthian 
"Progress," nor to preach virtue by depicting vice. It is no 
doubt very appalling and amusing to hear a young girl-cynic 
say, as she points to a hideous monkey in a zoological gardens 
— " He only wants a little money to be just like a man ! " 
Qa donne a penscr ; but Punch prefers wholesome jests to 
irony and repellent cynicism, and is content to leave his im- 
peachment in the hands of his spice-loving detractors, even at 
the risk of being reminded year by year that " Gentle Dulness 
ever loves a joke." 

Another fruitful source of adverse criticism is an occasional 
slip on Punch' s part in respect to some point of fact. Then at 
once half a dozen papers are on his track with an eager- 
ness that suggests the idea that they were lying in wait. 
First come the matters of detail, as when the " Athenaeum " 
(January, 1877) justifiably complained that the popular con- 
ception of the imperial crown of the Empress of India as a 
four-arched structure, like that of Germany, is due to the 
mistake of Punch, " whose artists are always falling into this 
error in their cartoons of the Empress of India." In 1879 
Sir John Tenniel was challenged by Mr. Sala on the correctness 
of the balloon in his frontispiece to the seventy-sixth volume, 
and in March, 1893, ^I^- ^u Maurier was soundly rated for 
showing a group of Oxford undergraduates, in the rooms of 
one of them, wearing cap and gown witli perfect docility. 
Yachtsmen fell foul of 'Sir. Sambourne for introducing an 
ensign on a staff in his famous drawing of " The Ti'jncs 
Tacking ; " for such a staff, stuck on the taffrail with the 
boom touching it, was "an impossible object," and would 
have been instantly snapped off, while, moreover, the ensign 
should have been at the peak. In another admirable draw- 
ing Punch once showed a ship on the starboard tack while 
o 2 

244 The History of "Punch." 

the helmsman is steering on the port tack, and the ship, b}' 
what appears a miracle, is lying over to the wind ; and, 
again, Toby is actually shown in the Almanac for 1895 drawing 
a cork from a champagne bottle with a cork-screw ! Then 
photographers are as resentful of inaccuracy as bicyclists ; and 
the fact that Mr. Hodgson in the second of his two drawings, 
"To be well shaken before taken " (August, 1894), representing 
an " 'Arry on 'orseback " first whipping up his horse before 
being photographed, and then posing before the " seaside tin- 
type man," placed the equestrian beheeen the sun and the lens, 
was warmly taken up ; for would not the result, forsooth, be 
" the loss of the picture in a flare spot ? " 

The literary eiTor, too, is held to be inexcusable, and Punch 
is pointed at with scorn for a misquotation from Horace ; or an 
incorrect rendering in one of his drawings of an antiquarian 
inscription ; or a slip in a Shakespearean line ; or an inaccuracy 
in slang or dialect. Scottish, Irish, Suffolk, or Yorkshire must 
all be perfectly rendered, or the natives will know the reason 
why. In August, 1894, ^^r. Hodgson sent from the Yorkshire 
moors a story of a keeper who, dissatisfied with the calendar, 
replies to a sportsman's inquiries : " Well, sir, middlin', pretty 
middlin'. But, oh dear, it's awk'ard this 'ere Twelfth bein' 
fixed of a Sunda}' ! Now might Mr. Gladstone ha' had 
hanything to do wi' that arrangement, sir ? " An outraged 
correspondent — a fluent Yorkshire conversationalist, of course 
—at once coiTected the original version and translated it into 
the true vernacular : " Xobbut middlin', sir, nobbut middlin'. 
But, ah lad, it's a fond business this puttin' t' Twelfth o' a 
Sunday. Div ye think 'at owd Gladstone 'ad owt to do wi' 
it ? " And again Punch rareh' introduces " mon " (as an 
equivalent for "man") into his Scotch jokes without pro- 
ducing a disclaimer against this alleged "peculiarly British 

A third form of mistake commonh' gloated o\er is that 
which touches some general fact of economics or social matters. 
An example of this was Mr. Linley Sambourne's drawing, 
entitled " An Embarras de Richesses," graphically illustrating 
th^glut of money in "the Cit}' " in the summer of 1894. The 

Toby at Fault. 245 

Old Lady of Threadneedle Street is shown standing on a pile 
of bags of bullion impatiently waving back the City men who 
are pressing forward with more bags of gold, which bags are 
labelled " Deposits." But the Bank of England allows no 
interest on deposits, as suggested by the drawing and its 
accompanying ^-erses ; and the draughtsman, explained one of 
the financial papers which gleefully called attention to the mis- 
conception, "thought it was the Old Lady who had reduced 
her deposit rates to one-half per cent." 

But what are considered the most heinous, as well as the 
rarest, of all blunders are those of policy or important move- 
ments, which, of course, concern large bodies of men, whether 
they constitute a part}', a constituency, or a strike. A case in 
point was the cartoon dedicated (August, 1893) ^o ^^""^ miners 
on strike in Northumberland and Durham : but at that par- 
ticular moment it was the miners of other districts who were 
so involved. Another instance was the substitution of Mr. 
Logan, M.P., for Mr. Leon, M.P. (December, 1893), i" '^ 
Parliamentar}' picture that illustrated an incident mentioned 
in the " Essence of Parliament." But it may be taken that 
the error was rather a slip than a blunder that represented 
^' Toby barking up the wrong tree." 

It is natural, of course, that the "faddists" should be 
among Mr. Punch's most impatient critics, because " fad " 
and "cant" have always been Puncli s pet gi'ound-game that 
he loves to run to earth. It is perhaps from the Temperance 
partv that he has had most sport, for he has always taken 
delight in the pictures they dislike the most — the incompar- 
able drawings of Leech and Keene, which show the humorous, 
instead of only the hateful, side of inebriety ; and he chuckles 
as he reads, now their protests against J\Ir. Bernard Partridge's 
excruciating pictures of a drunken man's "progress," now the 
plaintive paragi"aph that " in a recent issue of Punch more 
than twenty -five per cent, of the advertisements concerned 
hotels, wines, spirits, and mineral waters ! " 

And, lastly, there is the critic who is always bewaihng 
Punch's deterioration — an impending dissolution which has 
been announced from the second number ! 

246 The History of '' Puxcny 

People in Society seem curiously fond of expressing this 
opinion to the members of the Staff themselves, if all the 
stories current are to be believed. "Well, you know, Mr. 
Milliken, " once remarked a lady, '' I do not think Punch is as 
good as it nsed to be." " Xo," assented the creator of'Arr\-; 
" // never was .'" 

For such as these there is and can be no comfort ; for them 
there is no excellence save in the past ; no inferioritv save 
in the present. The perusal of humorous papers is of course 
but a poor occupation for pessimists such as they, and it is 
hardlv likelv that it could ever awaken in them sentiments 
other than those so tersely put by the "Gentlewoman's" 
poet : — 

" In vain I search for humour each 

And every ' comic ' 'neath the sky. 
Alas I I tear the busy Leech 

Has sucked the vein of humour drv ! " 



exgravinXt and printing. 


.Mr. Joseph Swain supersedes Ebanezer Landells — His Education as Engraver — 
Head of His Department — Engraving the Big Cut : Then and Now — Print- 
ing from the Wood-blocks — Leech's Fastidiousness — Impracticability of 
Keene — Thackeray's Little Confidence. — A Record of Half a Century. 

It was in 1845 that ]Mr. Swain engraved 
his first block for Punch. It was a 
drawing by Leech, on p. 50 of the fourth 
volume, to illustrate one of Albert Smith's 
" Side-Scenes of Societv." The services of 
Landells, it will be remembered, had been 
suddenly dispensed with by the pro- 
prietors — for reasons of business jealousy 
according to Landells, though the pro- 
prietors gave out, in some quarters at 
least, for lack of proper excellence in his 
work. When they had decided to give Landells his cong^, 
Bradbury and Evans looked about for another to replace him, 
and offered the engra^^ng to one of the brothers Jewett. By 
him the task was readily undertaken, although he was, as he 
knew, wholly unable to carry it out ; and when a block with 
one of Leech's drawings upon it was sent to him as a test, he 
offered the execution of it to his young acquaintance, Joseph 
Swain. So pleased was Leech with the result that he strongly 
recommended that the man who had cut such a block should, 
in place of the middleman, be installed as manager of the 
engraving department ; and from that time forward that im- 
portant portion of the work has remained in the hands of 
one of Punch's most taithfnl, loyal, and talented ser^-ants, of 
whom Punch has happily had so many. 

Mr. Swain had been brought up by his father from Oxford, 

248 The History of ''Punch." 

his natal town, when he was nine 3'ears of age, and five 
years later had been placed with N. Whittock, a draughts- 
man of Islington, to learn the art and craft of woodcutting. 
But though Mr. Whittock was something of an artist, he 
was less of an engraver ; and finding after a few years that he 
was making but little progress, young Swain applied for instruc- 
tion to Thomas Williams. That distinguished engi^aver was 
one of the few excellent " facsimile men " of the day ; and 
he agreed to accept the applicant as 'improver," At that 
time he was engaged in engraving the blocks of an edition 
of •' Paul et Virginie " — the well-known illustrated edition 
which was published in Paris in 1838. For at that time there 
were fewer facsimile engravers in Paris than in London, 
and what there were, in point of ability, were not to be 
compared with the Englishmen ; so that it was no uncommon 
thing for the best work to be sent from France to be executed 
in this country. On this particular work Meissonier, Johannot, 
Horace Vernet, and others had been engaged ; and when 
that was finished, the series of works published by Charles 
Knight provided endless work for the skilled gravers at Williams' 
command : Harvey's " Arabian Nights," " Shakespeare," and the 
" History of Greece," and other notable works. It was a great 
school of engravers that existed then, both of masters and 
pupils, and included, besides Thomas Williams himself, his 
brother and sister, Samuel and Mary Ann Williams (a brilliant 
engraver she, who never gained her due of reputation), John 
Thompson, OiTin Smith, W. J. Linton, John Jackson, Mason 
Jackson, W. T. Greene, Robert Branston, Landells, the Dalziel 
Brothers,* and Edmund Evans. Most of them were soon 
employed by W. Dickes, under whose management the Abbots- 
ford edition of Scott's works was being executed ; and to 
Dickes, Joseph Swain also transferred his services. In due 
course the young engraver left that establishment, and had 

* Mr. George Dalziel writes to me : " For myself I was somewhat intimately 
connected with the publication from its birth : being associated with Landells 
as an engraver, it fell to my lot to engrave . . . the first drawing contributed 
by John Leech, under the title of ' Foreign Affairs,' with many of the cartoons 
by Kenny Meadows, as well as many of the drawings of every artist engaged 
upon the journal, so long as Landells had anything to do with Punch.'' 

Enga'av/ng J he Cartoon. 249 

not long been on the look-out for a satisfactory opening when 
he received from Jewett the little commission which landed 
him in a verv short time in the service of PimcJi, in which 
he remained until he retired from business in favour of his 
son, after a completed period of half a century. 

For some years Mr. Swain remained at the head of the 
Punch engraving department, devoting himself, and his six or 
eight assistants, exclusively to Punch work. He then pointed 
out to the proprietors how, by conducting and extending the 
business on his own account, he could carry out their work more 
economically while increasing his own field of operations and 
doubling his earning powers. The suggestion was acted upon, 
and the result pro^•ed satisfactory to both parties. For by 
this time he had educated the necessary engravers to that 
style of facsimile cutting in which he himself, and but few 
besides, had been specially trained, and he was enabled to 
keep the weekly expense of engraving Punch down to an 
average of under thirt}* pounds, and at the same time to 
spend his superfluous energies on many of the most famous 
illustrated books of his day. 

For manv vears the boxwood blocks on which the drawings 
were made consisted of a single piece ; for, as already ex- 
plained, Charles Wells of Bouverie Street, at first a cabinet- 
maker of rare excellence, and later on a boxwood importer, 
had not then invented the device which revolutionised news- 
paper illustration — that of making a block in six or more 
sections which could be taken apart after the drawing had 
been made (and later on photogi-aphed) upon its surface 
and distributed among the engravers, and then screwed to- 
gether again when each man had completed his own little piece. 
The invention which led to such an economy of time was only 
introduced in i860 or thereabouts. For nineteen yecirs Punch 
had to see his big blocks cut on a single piece of wood, which 
was one of the reasons why the earlier cartoons and "pen- 
cillings " were, as a rule, so much more roughly drawn and 
hastily cut. In those early days a single "round" of wood 
was used — a "round" that had been cross-cut from the trunk 
of the tree. This was always kept seasoning until b}- natural 

250 The History of "Puxch.'' 

shrinkage it had spht up to the centre, when a tongue- 
shaped piece of box was fitted into the triangular vacancy 
and screwed firmly through. Then the block was squared 
as well as its shape permitted, and when its surface had 
been properly prepared, it was ready for the artist. 

As I find m3-self discussing technical details in Punch 
production, it ma)- be well to go a step further, for such 
matters can hardly fail to interest the reader. The car- 
toon, for reasons of economy of time, has always, up to 
1893, been drawn upon the wood* — not upon paper, as has 
been possible to the rest of the Staff for a good many years 
past — and is delivered into Mr. Swain's hands by Friday 
night. Twenty-four hours later the engraving of the block 
IS completed, and it is handed over to the printers, who are 
already clamouring for it to be put in their formes — for there 
is no time to electrotype it, nor of course to stereot}pe the 
pages. Stereotyping, indeed, has been the latest of the inno- 
vations on Punch — an innovation to be reckoned but a vear 
or two old — for Punch, in his own house at least, is a Con- 
servative among Conservatives. What was always present 
in the publisher's mind was that the " foreign edition " had 
to be ready printed oft by Monda}- morning, and eveiy moment 
was necessarily grudged during which the machines were not 
running — even those few short minutes when a sheet or two 
of the paper, at first starting, were taken to ]\Ir. Swain to 
be judged as to the printing of the cuts, or as to whether 
they wanted a little more "colour," or a little pressure taken 
off. "To myself," ]Mr. Swain tells me, "it has always been 
a pleasing reflection that during the whole time of my con- 
nection with Punch, extending over fiftv vears, I have never 
once failed to get my work done in time and without accident. 
Of course, now and again it has been a verv near thing, but 
it has always been done somehow." 

It has ever been matter for surprise to outsiders that the 
conductors of the journal could tempt Fate so recklesslv as to 
put the original wood-blocks on the machines. As has been 

* With the exception of the Almanac cartoon, for which the engraver has 
ample time. 

Rrryx/Au; 7?/6a-5. 251 

seen, there was no alternative. But the fact remains that they 
ran a continual risk for fifty }'ears which no other journal 
would care to face for a single week ; for an accident to a 
single block (and such accidents are all too common) would 
have jeopardised the whole week's edition, as no other original 
existed (as it exists nowadays) from which the damaged block 
might be reproduced, or b}' which it might be superseded. 

So it was only after the printing of an edition that the 
blocks were electrotyped. It is a curious fact that after 70,000 or 
80,000 had been printed these blocks were nearh' always found 
as good as new so far as the wood was concerned ; onh" towards 
the end of the edition the blocks would sometimes get so filled 
up that some of the fine work was entirel}' lost, and the electros 
then taken suffered in consequence. An examination of this 
substance would show that it consisted of lime and pulp from 
the paper itself, compressed in a solid boch' so hard that it 
almost defied the graver to remove it. 

Those early davs were halcyon times for Pmuli engravers. 
Mark Lemon would come down two or three times a week to 
edit and make up the paper, and would talk leisurely with Mr, 
Swain of such matters as concerned the engraver. Xo block 
was hurried. If it could not be ready for one week, it was held 
over for the next— a saving grace which the engra^'er has 
now and again acknowledged b}^ drawing an initial or other 
simple design on the wood half an hour before going to press, 
when the Editor hurriedly required such a decoration — possibly 
to suppl}^ an artist's omission. Such sketches were " The Cab- 
man's Ticket" in February, 1854, put upon the wood from a 
scribble bv Gilbert a Beckett — his sole artistic contribution 
to Punch; "Broom v. Brush" in May, 1859; and "The 
Turkish Bath" in 18S0. And, above all, "process" had not 
yet held out its alluring promise of nearly equal results, to 
the inexpert eye, at a quarter of the cost of wood-engraving. 
In another way did Mr. Swain place his mark on the pages 
of Punch— hy the introduction of many a young artist to the 
Editor. It was he who thus introduced Mr. T. Harrington 
Wilson to Mark Lemon, Mr. Ralston to Shirley Brooks, 
R. B. Wallace (whose acquaintance he had niade through 

252 The History of '"Punch" 

Mr, Frederick Shields) and Mr. Wheeler to Tom Taylor, and 
others, too, to the various rulers of Punch. In some cases 
the artists themselves approached the engraver ; in others, it 
was the Editor who would ask him to recommend some clever 
designer who could best execute this or that little drawing 
which he wanted done. Further service rendered by him 
was the share he took in educating several of Punch s more 
imposing personages for the work they had to do — such as 
Doyle, McDonnell, and others. 

It has often been quoted of Leech that after he had shown 
a drawing on the wood to any friend who might happen to be 
with him, he would add with a sigh — " But wait till next week 
and see how the engraver will spoil it ! " This was a piece of 
unintentional injustice, for the fault lay with the conditions of 
rapid printing (for Punch has always been, and still is, printed 
on a cylinder machine) — with the printer, the ink-maker, and 
the paper manufacturer more than with the engraver, as a 
glance at the proofs of the engi"avings will show. 

Speaking of this matter, Dean Hole says : "If the position 
of an eyelash was altered, or the curve of a lip was changed, 
there might be an ample remainder to convey the intention and 
to win the admiration of those who never knew their loss, but 
the perfection of the original was gone. Again and again I have 
heard him [Leech] sigh as he looked over the new number 
of Punch ; and as I, seeing but excellence, would ask an explana- 
tion, he would point to some almost imperceptible obliquity 
which vexed his gentle soul." It is a curious fact that, in 
common with most draughtsmen. Leech never became reconciled 
to the fact that black printer's-ink cannot exactly render the 
tender gre}" tones of a hard lead pencil ; but to the fact that 
he had not much to complain of Mr. Frith bears witness : 
" I once saw one of Leech's drawings on the wood, and I after- 
wards saw it in Punch, and I remember wondering at the 
fidelity with which it was rendered. Some of the lines, finer 
than the finest hair, had been cut away or thickened, but the 
character, the vigour, and the beauty were scarcely damaged.'' 
In connection with this subject Mr. Layard, in his "Life 
of Charles Keene," compared a photogi'avure and a wood-block 

Thackeray is Communicative. 253 

of one of the PioicJi pictures, with the principal, though un- 
intended, result of proving how indulgent are wood-engraving 
and the tool of the skilled craftsman to the artist who incon- 
sideratelv persists in using gre}^ inks of varying intensities and 
subtle lines of indefinite thicknesses on paper of various colour- 
patches, when reproduction upon wood is his sole ultimate 

As Mr. Swain lived for some time close to Thackeray's 
house, it was an occasional custom of his to call on his way to 
the office to see if the great " Thack ',' had any blocks ready that 
he might carry away with him. The novelist was usually at 
breakfast when he called, and would request that his ^■isitor 
might be shown into the library. There he would presently 
join him and, if he were behindhand with his work, would 
request Mr. Swain to have a seat, a cigar, and a chat, while 
he produced a PinicJi drawing "Avhile you wait." "Ah, 
Swain ! " he said one day, looking up from his block, when he 
was more than usually confidential, " if it had not been for 
Punch, I wonder where I should be ! " 

Mr. Joseph Swain retired in 1890 from the business he had 
formed, and handed it over to his son, who had been many 
years identified with it, and still continues the weekly engraving 
of the Punch cartoon. Wood-engravmg has now been aban- 
doned for all other illustrations, the first process block tried 
on the paper being Mr. Linley Sambourne's drawing called 
" Reconciliation, a scene from the new screaming farce, the 
■Pohtical Box and Cox,'" on the 3rd December, 1892 (p. 2-ji)\ 
but that the innovation has been equally happy in the case 
of everv artist I am not prepared to maintain. 


PUNCH'S writers: 1 84 1. 

Mark Lemon — As Others Saw Him — His Duties — His Industry — His Staff and 
their Apportioned Work — Lemon as an Editor — And Diplomatist — A 
Testimonial— And a Practical Joke— Henry Mayhew— His Great Powers 
and Little Weaknesses— Disappointment and Retirement — Stirling Coyne 

Gilbert Abbott a Beckett— His Early Career— Tremendous Industry — 

A Beckett and Robert Seymour — Appointed Magistrate— Locked In — Angus 
B. Reach. 

Mark Lemon was thirty-one when 
he found himself co-editor of Punch. 
His salary, it is true, was not more 
than thirty shillings a week ; but it was 
to rise before his death to fifteen hun- 
dred pounds a year — a higher amount, it 
is said, than has been received by any 
other " weekly editor," before or since. 
However, he had found financial salva- 
tion ; for although his play -writing had 
not been unsuccessful — and by the time 
he died his pieces were to be num- 
bered bv the score — the drama in the days of short runs 
was not a remunerative form of literature. His natural bon- 
homie stood him in good stead ; it charmed his friends and 
non-plussed his enemies. Of the latter, it must be admitted, 
he had more than enough — or, at least, men to whom he 
was intensely antipathetic. One eminent journalist — more 
eminent than Mark himself — writes him down "a mealy- 
mouthed sycophant ; " and another, hardly less popular, went 
further still in his denunciation, and, if he were to be 
believed, Mark Lemon must have been one of the most 
accomplished humbugs of his time. " There was nothing 


(From a piivate J)hoiograph.') 

An a pp/? EC/ at/ on o/- Mark Lemon. 255 

good about Mark," said a distinguished draughtsman, who 
worked with the Punch Editor for many a long year, "but 
his laugh." But against this criticism — which was that of 
men whose judgment ought to be clear and sound, and was, 
moreo^•er, shared by others — there is an overwhelming mass 
of evidence in favour of Lemon's extreme amiabilitv, kindness, 
and geniality. He, naturally, was the butt of rival comic 
papers, who would taunt him with his Jewish descent, with 
the mildness of his jokes and humour, and the bitterness of his 
false friendship. A favourite form was to print among supposed 
"Births" such a line as this: "On Wednesday,' the 26th ult., 
at Whitefriars, Mr. Mark Lemon, of a joke, stillborn." 

But Lemon could well afford to ignore all such attacks. 
Mr. George Chester, his life-long friend, pronounced him the 
prince of cronies, and I have seen many letters from him 
instinct with affection and jovial humour. One of them, bv 
the wav, gives information that "our nursemaid has the 
chicken-pock, and we expect to see her throw out feathers 
to-morrow." When he entered the composing-room he was 
invariablv received with a cheer b}- the men, whom he called 
"my Caxtonian Bees." Charles Dickens believed in him as 
" a most affectionate and true-hearted fellow," and so described 
him to Sir A. H. Layard (in whose interest Dickens arranged 
for Tenniel's fine " Nineveh Bull " cartoon to be published) ; 
and though he quarrelled with him, because Lemon had the 
courage, chivalry, and uprightness to take ]Mrs. Dickens's 
side against her husband, he brought the estrangement to a 
close with a kindlv message when Lemon first appeared as 
Falstaff. Mr. Joseph Hatton carries his friendly admiration 
almost to the point of Lemonolatry ; and the man who could 
inspire such friendship must assuredly have been endowed with 
sterling qualities and with a lovable nature. 

" Mr. Lemon impressed me," writes Mr. E. J. Ellis, " as 
the kindest and most lovable elderly boy I had ever seen. 
He evidentlv accepted my little sketches only for the promise, 
not the performance, of them. Some were rejected. This was 
done so genially that I found myself hastening to refuse my own 
drawings far him rather than put him to the effort of sparing 

256 The History of "PuNcny 

my feelings while doing so. ' Here I sit,' he said, Mike a great 
ogre, eating up people's little hopes.' Then he showed me 
his waste-paper basket, and added — ■' But what am I to do ? 
Look here ! ' I confess I never saw, except on pavement in 
colom'ed chalks, such nerve-twisting horrors as the paper 
sketches people sent." It is obvious from this that the 
writer never watched the pictures entering the Royal Academy 
on Sending-in Day. 

Mark Lemon loved Punch ; as well he ought. He refused 
to visit America to give his readings on terms that were highly 
alluring, as he could not find it in his heart to abandon the 
command, even for a time, nor bear to miss his two days a 
week at Whitefriars. When he said truly that he and Punch 
were made for each other, and that he " would not have 
succeeded in any other way," he might fairly have added, had 
he wished, how hard he had laboured for that success. Mr. 
Birket Foster has drawn me a vivid picture of how in those 
early days he had to visit Lemon in his Newcastle Street 
lodgings, and, mounting to the topmost storey, found him in 
an untid}', undusted room, sitting in his shirt-sleeves, with 
Horace ]\Iayhew by his side plying the scissors, working at 
the weekh' " make-up " of Punch with the desperate eagerness 
that was, in time, to bear so rich a harvest. 

How Mark Lemon helped to bring together the original 
Staff has already been seen. It was, doubtless, his sound 
display of business capacity and character, in addition to his 
literarv aptitude, that induced Henry ]\Iayhew and Landells 
to nominate him as one of the co-editors — for that was a 
quality in which both Henry Mayhew and Stirling Coyne 
were confessedlv deficient. " There are forty men of wit," 
says Swift, " for one man of sense." So the paper was started, 
and the very first article, " The Moral of PuncJi," was 
Lemon's ;* but neither then nor after did he write much 
for it, though he still contributed a certain amount of graceful, 
serious verse, under the title of " Songs for the Sentimental," 
with a farcical last line which affects the reader suddenly 
like a cold douche. He wrote, as well, many short epigrams, 

* See p. 2. 

Mark Lemon Sole Editor. 257 

paragraphs, and the like, besides being a fairly prolific 
suggestor of the cartoons ; but the sum of his literary labours 
on the paper would not compare with that of the members 
on the Staff. To him fell the organisation, administration, and 
practical making-up of the paper. 

In the early days of Punch, during those infantile con- 
vulsions to which the paper threatened to succumb, Mark 
Lemon assured his position by the great zeal with which he 
carried out his duties ; and at the transfer of Punch he was 
left sole Editor, by the fiat of the new proprietors. Stirling 
Coyne left without real regi-et, though in considerable dudgeon 
at his treatment ; he had many other irons in the fire, and 
the conditions of journal-weaning were unattractive to him. 
But to Henry Mayhew it was a bitter disappointment. It 
was he who had made Punch what it was ; he found himself 
ousted from his legitimate position, and he considered, in his 
own words, that Mark Lemon " had allowed himself to be 
bought over," so that a coolness sprang up between the two 
men which was never quite removed. 

In his work Lemon did not spare himself. For a time 
Horace Mayhew was his sub-editor, to whom fell the usual 
duties of the post — (" Be it yours," as a careless speaker in 
the office nicknamed " Heavens ! " is traditionalh' said to 
have advised, " Be it yours, 'Orace, to hurge the hartises 
[artists] hon ! ") — but before long Lemon took that duty upon 
himself, driving round to the chief contributors one day in 
the week to satisfv himself that their drawings and "copy" 
would be to time. The story goes that he alwa3's emplo}'ed 
the same driver, and that when the man was about to replace 
the old vehicle with a new one, he suggested to Lemon, with 
glowing pride at the brightness of the idea, that he should 
have a figure of Puncli emblazoned on the panels. In later 
years Lemon's son Harry acted as his secretary, and sometimes, 
though unofficially, as his sub-editor, and generally undertook 
the "travelling" for his father. 

It was in Lombard Street, Whitefriars, of classic memory, 
that Bradbury and Evans carried on the practical part of their 
business ; and here Mark Lemon might often be seen, radiant 

258 The History of "Punch." 

and effulgent as the circulation rose. In May, 1S43, Punch had 
removed from Wellington Street, Strand, to 194, Strand, an 
office which he gave up to his young rival, " The Great Gun," in 
January, 1845, in order to remove to 92, Fleet Street. Here he 
only remained for a couple of months, and, migi"ating in March 
of the same year, he set up for good and all in 85, Fleet Street, 
on the very site in St. Bride's Churchyard of the tailor's house 
where jVIilton once kept school. In the editorial office the Punch 
Staff would often write their articles, Thackeray especially 
taking advantage of the convenience. ''In three hours more," 
he wrote to Mrs. Brookfield in 1850, " Mr. W. M. T. is hard at 
work at Pimch office." 

The management of the weekly " copy," the arrangement 
for series, and the dealing with outside applications of all sorts, 
quite apart from artistic contributions, were together no light task 
for the Editor, especially when one or other of the writers failed 
him, and the illustrations that were to accompany their articles 
had to be retaken into consideration. From the besj-innin? 
outside contributions were remorselessh' discouraged ; yet some 
remarkable poems and sketches have come to Punch unsolicited 
from famous and brilliant pens, as will subsequentlv be seen. Still, 
the paper has always been a fairlv close borough — as, after all, 
it has a perfect right to be ; and by that means has been enabled 
to keep its distinctive colour — in contrast with the " Fliegende 
Blatter," for example, whose staff may truly be said to consist of 
the whole German people. To each writer was allotted a 
certain space, which he was expected to fill ; and when there 
was a deficit in the amount of his contribution — which there 
generally was, and a heavy one — it was duly entered up. Thus 
for a long while Douglas Jerr old's half-yearly total was theo- 
retically 162 columns (or a weekly average of six and a quar- 
ter) ; Gilbert a Beckett's, 135 columns (five and a quarter) ; 
Percival Leigh's, Tom Taylor's, and Horace ^Vlayhew's, 54 ; 
and Thackeray's, 46 columns ; but few of them ever came up 
to their proper total. In earlier days, before Albert Smith left, 
the following were the weekly tasks : Jerrold, five columns ; 
Gilbert a Beckett, four ; Smith and Leigh, two each ; and after 
Smith's departure a Beckett succeeded to Jerrold's figures. 

The Staff at Work, 


The records of the Staff's contributions were kept as 
follows, their relative proportions being exactly shown. I 
take one volume at random, the seventh, that for the second 
half-year of 1S44 : — 



Douglas Jerrold . 
Gilbert a Beckett. 
Percival Leigh . . . . 


Horace Mayhew . 

T. Taylor 




Laman Blanchard 





A"S-- te'Xr. lOctober No- 


2i I 










Total of 





























Total of columns in volume , 347 

A more comprehensive view may be had from a glance at 
the table on the following page, which covers perhaps the most 
interesting period of Punch's early histor\-. 

From this table it will be seen that Douglas Jerrold con- 
tributed as much as 139 columns to Vol. VII. and Gilbert a 
Beckett 122 to the next ; and that the Editor's section after 
Vol. VI. was to some extent split up under the names of the 
individual contributors who composed it. In addition to these 
names during the period covered by the table, there may be 
added those of Tom Hood (3!), T. J. Serle, , Charles Lever, 
Horace Smith, and Doyle. 

Another source of trouble to the Editor was the holiday- 
time as it came round, for the Statf would scatter itself and, 
though arrangements were made of course beforehand, the 

* Douglas Jerrold writes to Hodder under date September gth : — " I have been 
worked to death for Punch, having it all on my shoulders, Mark, a Beckett, and 
Thackeray being away. Nevertheless, last week it went up 1,500." Jerrold, it 
may be added, would at that time undertake some of the editorial as well as 
the literary work. 

t This was " The Little Frenchman's Second Lesson," an important poem 
occupying a whole page. 

+ Under "Editor" were entered all, except very special, contributions 
coming from outside. 

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In the Editorial Chair. 263 

paper was sometimes run in a curiousl}- undermanned condition. 
Thus, Ibr example, on the week of August 12, 1848 (Xo. 370), 
Jerrold was at Guernsey, Thackeray was at Brussels, Horace 
Mayhew at Ramsgate, and Tom Taylor awav on circuit. 
The whole paper was in consequence written by three men 
— by Gilbert a Beckett and Percival Leigh at home, and b\' 
Horace ]\Iayhew, who thoughtfully sent in more than four 
columns from the countr)-, so that his absence should not be 

At no time was Lemon's position an easy one, for his 
team, brilliant as it was, was sometimes wont to jib, and 
even to kick over the traces, or, most serious of all, to fall 
ill ; whereupon the fountain of inspiration and supph' would 
immediately dry up. When one failed, another would have to 
be made to fill the space ; and all the while susceptibilities 
had to be nursed and respected as carefully as the well-being 
of the paper. Thackeray would now and then send a letter 
of apology instead of his "cop}^" and Jerrold would fail for 
a week or two together ; and then Gilbert a Beckett with 
important contributions, and Horace Mayhew with a mass 
of little ones, were the men who, in the earlv volumes, would 
rush quickly to the rescue. Lemon was patience itself — 
he had no alternati^'e perhaps— and could humour his Staff 
just as their humour demanded, for he was a born diplomatist 
as well as editor. Moreover, he had an unerring instinct as 
to what should and what should not appear in the paper ; 
not alone on the ground of "good taste," as it was then 
understood, but of public feeling. This invaluable quality was 
acknowledged by the rest of the Staff, and was probably the 
secret of Lemon's ability to retain his position so long and 
with so much dignity, and to impose his will — suavitcr in 
modo as was his habit — on men who would brook such 
imposition from no one else. It was his moral balance they 
admired — that judgment which in all his long career of 
satiric criticism kept him practically free fi'om any action for 
libel after he had taken his share in piloting the paper through 
its sea of earl}' troubles. He was watchful and discriminating, 
both as regards the contents of the paper and the discussions 


The History of "Punch." 

at the board — where he would smooth over such an occasional 
storm as might threaten, and be deaf to anything that a less 
skilhil tactician than himself might have taken notice of. 
Nevertheless, Lemon could take his own part if occasion 
required, and face his opponents with all the vigour of his 
authority. The Proprietors themselves once felt the strength 
of his character when they sought to challenge him on a vital 
point. Mark Lemon quickly assured himself of the support 

of his Staff, and, rising 
from his seat, he said in 
a tone of command, 
" Boys, follow me ! " and 
made to leave the room. 
The struggle was over, 
and Lemon triumphed. 
Similarly did he make a 
casus belli of the attempt 
of the Proprietors on his 
editorial rights and dig- 
nity, when he was re- 
quested to appear at 
their meeting instead of 
their attending in his 
room. And he went so far as to instal himself in a room on the 
other side of the way until his point was conceded. He was, 
on the whole, a consummate Editor, who could cater for all 
men, and yet keep his pages practically clean and irreproach- 
able, and almost free from blunder; all the while enlisting for 
it more and more of popular sympathy, and daily increasing 
its influence. 

Punch did not engage his exclusive energies. He was 
the first editor of the "Field." Then he edited the "London 
Journal," and in trying to improve its tone and quality of 
literature by the republication in its pages of the Waverley 
novels he well-nigh ruined it. These and other matters he 
embarked upon, together with a number of small works, such 
as his volume of " Prose and Verse " (which Jerrold said 
ought to have been called " Prose and Worse "), and his 



IN 1845. 

" Uncle MarkT 265 

" Jest Book," on the strength of which, it is said, Hans 
Christian Andersen, when in England, sought an introduction 
to him and paid him the comphment of saying, " I am so 
glad to know you, Mr. Lemon — you are so full of comic ! " 

Moreover, Lemon acted as a sort of secretary to Herbert 
Ingram, whom he served with gi'eat tact. Ingram was a 
good deal identified with the Punch circle, sometimes in a 
friendly and sometimes in a hostile way. He was owner, 
before he sold it to William and Robert Brough, of "The 
Man in the Moon," Punch's arch-enemy, and in later years 
he started the " Comic News," with Edmund Yates as editor, 
on purpose to oppose him. Yet several of the Punch men, 
notably Shirley Brooks, worked on his " Illustrated London 
News," which was started in great measure to push "Parr's 
Life Pills " (these were constantly mentioned and sometimes 
attacked in Punch), and Douglas Jerrold found in him the 
capitalist for the " Illuminated Magazine." Mark Lemon it 
was who took several of his Staff down to Boston to speak 
for Ingi-am during his candidature, an expedition that was a 
gi-eater electoral than oratorical success ; and he again it 
was, so it is said, who persuaded Mr. Ingi-am to drop 
the "Comic News," so that Punch might be rid of what 
was already a troublesome, and might have become a very 
damaging, rival. 

With equal zeal and skill and genial friendliness to re- 
commend him. Lemon became a gi'eat favourite in his own 
circle, for "Uncle Mark" was always ready to do his 
friends a good turn. In 1845 the Staff combined to pre- 
sent him with a silver inkstand— an interesting relic now 
in possession of Mrs. F. W. W. Topham, his daughter)— a 
reproduction of the lid of which is here given ; while the 
locket which, with a more substantial gift, was presented 
in 1866 to celebrate the Jubilee of Punch {i.e. his fiftieth 
volume) and to mark the withdrawal of the Heads of the 
firm, was inscribed as follows : " To Mark Lemon from his 
old friends W. Bradbury and F. M. Evans, on their retire- 
ment, given at- a dinner at Maidenhead, June 27th, 1866. 
Present— W. H. Bradburv, Shirley Brooks, Wm. Agnew, 

266 The History of ''Punch!' 

G. du Maurier, F. C. Biirnand, J. H. Agnew, C. H. Bennett, 
John Tenniel, Horace Ma3^hew, F. M. Evans (Jun.), Henry 
Silver, T. Agnew (Jun.), Percival Leigh, Chas. Keene, Mark 
Lemon, \Vm. Bradbur}-, F. M. Evans." There is no doubt 
that, as time went on. Lemon became more and more popular 
with his Staff, and each fresh appearance in Punch of his 
jolly face under the low-crowned hat of John Bull, or the 
snow-sprinkled peak of Father Christmas, identified him more 
closely with the paper and endeared him to his workers. Yet 
they liked to " score off" him when they could, in return for 
the jokes he plaved on them. The story is told how, when 
he had run down for a few days' holiday by the sea, he 
received the paper by post, and, tearing off its cover, was 
horrified to find, not the cartoon they had agreed upon, 
but another, execrable in taste and vile in execution, while 
undoubted libels and other offences were sprinkled with 
hideous liberality about the pages. Moreover, the cartoon was 
awry, the date was wrong, and a paragraph was upside down. 
Lemon turned cold all down his spine, and gasping " This 
comes ft^om mv being away ! " he determined to return to town 
without the loss of a moment. From this point historians 
differ. Some say that Mark rushed to the station, quickly 
bought up every copy of the awful issue that was for sale, 
and jumped into the railway-carriage with the bundle ; and 
that not before he was well on his wa}- did he dare to open 
a copy to gaze again on the hideous production ; and when 
he did — he rubbed his eyes, for everything was just as it 
should be ! Then the light broke in upon him that he had 
been egregiouslv " sold," and he realised that a copy had 
been specially prepared for his pleasing edification ! Other 
commentators assert that before Uncle Mark had time 
to leave for the station a telegi"am came, mercifully ex- 
plaining a joke which, it was felt, ought not to be carried 
too far. The reader will remember a similar incident 
occurring in " Esmond ; " and one wonders if the idea of 
that dummy copy of the "Spectator" was not suggested by 
the hour's torture lovingly inflicted upon the Editor of Punch 
by his affectionate and respectful Staff. 

Mr. Gladstone's Tribute. 267 

Mark Lemon died on May 23rd, 1870. He had been 
verv ill on one or two pre\-ious occasions ; even as early as 
1848 Jerrold had written to John Forster that " Lemon has 
been at Death's door — but has kept on the outside." For 
nine-and-twenty years he had been at the helm ; and although 
he mav not have been as paramount on Punch as some aver, 
there can be no doubt that he entirely merited the compli- 
ment paid by Mr. Gladstone to his memory when, awarding 
a pension of ;^ioo fi^om the Civil List to Mrs. Lemon, he said 
that he had ''raised the level of comic journalism to its present 
standard." The proprietors, with generous sympathy, recogiiis- 
ing the immense services of their friend, at once set about 
making a collection for the widow and unmarried daughters 
(for Lemon had been unsuccessful in his investments and 
speculations') and, with the ready help of the Staff, pro- 
secuted it with so much energy and goodwill that the sum 
of ;^ 1,500 was quickly raised. 

He was lowered to rest in a coffin simply inscribed " ]Mark 
Lemon — Editor of Punch;" for in Punch he had lived his 
life. "He believed," said Mr. Hatton, "in one God, one 
woman, one publication," as his surviving colleagues well 
knew. "If this journal," they wrote by the hand of Shirley 
Brooks, "has had the good fortune to be credited with 
habitual advocacy of truth and justice, if it has been praised 
for abstinence from the less worth}- kind of satire, if it has 
been trusted by those who keep guard over the purity of 
womanhood and of youth, we, the best witnesses, turn for a 
moment from our sorrow to bear the fullest and most willing 
testimony that the high and noble spirit of ]\Iark Lemon ever 
prompted generous championship, ever made unworthy on- 
slaught or irreverent jest impossible to the pens of those 
who were honoured in being coadjutors with him." And in 
the poem that follows, testimony is borne that — 

"... 'Twas his pride to teach us so to bear 

Our blades, as he bore his — keep the edge keen, 
But strike above the belt : and ever wear 
The armour of a conscience clear and clean." 


The History of ''Punch!' 


{From a Photograph by 

Bedford, Leinerc and Co. 

Strand, IF.C.) 

The character of Henry Mayhew, and his share in the 
production of Punch, have already been somewhat fuhy set 

forth. An old fi-iend of his informs me that 
"he was lovable, jolly, charming, bright, 
coaxing, and unprincipled. He rarely wrote 
himself, but would dictate, as he walked to 
and fro, to his wife, whom he would also 
leave to confi^ont his creditors. She was 
deeply attached to him ; and when his 
father died, she found that the careful solici- 
tor had left her a bequest of two pounds a 
week, payable to herself." And Postans, 
after he had lost his sight, would now and 
then exclaim — "Although he treated me so 
badly, I should love to hear the sound of 
his dear voice again!" There can be no doubt that Henry 
Mayhew was a genius, a fascinating companion, and a man 
of inexhaustible resource and humour — though humour was 
but one side of his brilhant mind. Indolence was his beset- 
ting sin ; and his will was untutored. 

" An admirable all-round talker," Henry Vizetelly wrote to me 
shortly before his death, " Henry Mayhew was brimming over 
with novel ideas on all manner of subjects, from artificial pro- 
duction of diamonds to the reformation of ticket-of-leave men. 
He was constantly planning some new publication or broaching 
novel ideas on the most out-of-the-way subjects. He would scheme 
and ponder all the day long, but he abominated the labour of 
putting his ideas into tangible shape. He would talk like a book 
on any subject for hours together if he could only find listeners, 
but could with difficulty be brought to put pen to paper. Most 
of his books were written from his ideas by his younger brother 
Augustus, or were dictated directly to his wife, who acted as his 
amanuensis. Although he made considerable sums by his writings, 
he never seemed to have a shilling ; and most of the letters he re- 
ceived were from dunning creditors. These missives, however, never 
troubled him, for he never broke the envelopes of one of them, 
but handed all his correspondence over to his wife to do as she 
pleased with and answer such letters as she thought necessary. 
He was very temperate. Whether he smoked as a young man, 

Henry Mayhew's Rare Talent. 269 

I am not aware ; but he never smoked at the periodical evening 
gatherings at his house, when the guests could hardly see each 
'other for the clouds of tobacco-smoke. On these occasions the 
most abstruse subjects were often discussed, and all we young 
wiseacres present contributed our modicum of knowledge towards 
the elucidation of problems that sorely perplexed the thinkers of 
the epoch. Although Mayhew would sit up till any hour as 
long as anyone would stay and listen to him, he never allowed 
this to interfere with his early-rising habits." 

The impression made by Mayhew upon his contemporaries 
was invariably such as to command respect for his intellectual 
capacity. Considering his deep, philosophic mind, says one 
critic, if his lines had been cast in more serious places, he 
might have been a sociologist, the equal of John Stuart INIill 
and Herbert Spencer. There is proof enough of this in that 
wonderful encyclopaedic work of '' London Labour and London 
Poor," which displayed his original mind and his power of 
research, as much as other books displayed his marvellous 
invention, fancy, and initiative, and it is the only one of his 
undertakings which he had perseverance enough to carry 
throtigh to a triumphant conclusion— so far as it can claim 
finality. It was while he was engaged on this work that 
Landells (according to a private letter) visited him and found 
him, in company with his brother Augustus and William Jer- 
rold, interviewing a " coster "—" drawing him," while Horace 
Mayhew took down everything the man said. 

Such was the man who conceived Punch as it came to be, 
and who wrote of it when it was established, " I smell lots of tin 
thereabouts ; but our Lemon requires a great deal of squeezing." 
What was his connection with Punch, how he agreed with 
Lemon as to the transfer to Bradbury and Evans, how he 
found himself replaced by (or, as he considered, outwitted 
by) Mark Lemon in the editorship has already been recited. 
Nevertheless, he was retained as " Suggest or-in-Chief" —an 
ofHce which suited him well enough, considering his hatred of 
the drudgery of writing. 

" Mr. Henry Mayhew," writes Punch's ex-Printer. " the special 
joke-provider for Punch, was a most jocular character. He would 

270 The History of ''Punch!' 

stand beside the compositor while he was working at his case, 
and closely watch every movement of his hand in picking up 
each letter. He said he could not make out how ever the com- 
positor could keep the alphabetical order of each box in his 
memory. So to master the mystery he set to work and learned 
the boxes for himself, and would often find amusement, when 
waiting for a proof, in setting up a few lines, very slowty at first, 
but, shifting the composing rule and thoughtlessly laying down 
the stick the wrong way, generally upset all his work, and so he 
gave it i:p in despair. This Mr. Mayhew was ver}^ clever in 
creating and roughly sketching out man}- of the small comic 
column illustrations, and would write the witty inscriptions for 
them. These would then go to the artist, who sketched out the 
idea and so completed it. In Punchy as in manv other similar 
works, the mind to invent the idea caricatured, and the hand 
that pencils it, belong to two verv different persons and capacities. 
Mr. Ma3'hew was very clever in this way, and anything of a 
comic nature he saw he would at once sketch off and then have 
a cut made of it. Most of the inimitable cuts in the first few 
volumes of Punch are of his invention. He was always sketch- 
ing and taking rough notes of everything he saw. The great 
John Leech called him his indispensable ' Jack-all, or broad-grin 
provider.' " 

In spite of his disappointment, Henry Mayhew remained 
with Punch until 1S45. His last literary contribution — "A 
Shaksperean Xurser}- Rhyme," on the subject of Macready 
playing Shakespeare in Paris before Louis Philippe and 
Prince de Joinville — appeared in February of that year ; but 
he still attended the Dinners and made suggestions for car- 
toons, of which twelve were accepted in that year. With 
his proposal, however, of the cartoon of "Don Roebucis," 
which was drawn by Leech (14th March, 1846), his last word 
was said; and from that time forward his connection with 
Punch ceased absolutely. He had given the paper its char- 
acter and tone ; he had suggested its first great success, the 
Almanac ; he had supported its transfer, whereby it was 
firmly established ; and he had cracked its biggest joke — the 
joke which is universally quoted to this very day.^ He died 
in 1887, at the age of 75, and his old friend celebrated him 

* See p. 141. 

Stirljxg Coyne. 



(Front a Photograph by Lom- 
bard and Co.) 

in verse, none too correctly, though in the kindhest manner, 

ending thus : — 

" . . . . Farewell ! 
The record of the age's course will tell 
Of him whose name a double honour bore, 
Comrade of Pimch and champion of the poor." * 

There was a fund of Irish humour 
in Joseph Stirling Co}'ne. He had 
proved it by his plan's long before he 
undertook his share of the co-editor- 
ship which was oifered him at that 
" Edinburgh Castle " meeting where so 
much oi Punch' s present and future was 
arranged. He was at that time eight- 
and-twenty years of age ; and although 
he was dramatic critic of the " Sundav 
Times," the drama rather than the 
press was his natural field of action — 
indeed, he wrote no fewer than five- 
and-fifty pieces of various kinds, besides plays in collabora- 
tion, and was secretarv of the Dramatic Authors' Societv 
until his death. Nevertheless, he belonged in a manner 
to the inner circle of the *' Punch set," and frequented the 
taverns that were their clubs ; and he even went in double 
harness with Mark Lemon as co-editor, vice " Alphabet " 
Bajdey, of "The Bude Light" — an English imitation of 
" Les Guepes." He was, in fact, a man of some celebrit^• 

* An example of Henry Maj-hew's quaint presentation of his own 
experiences is to be found in the paragraph he contributed under the title 
of " Tavern Charges at Dover ": — " Waiter ! How much is my glass of 
brandy-and-water ? " "The bill, sir." "What! ids. 6d. ? " "Yes, sir, 
brandy's 2S. ; never charge less." "Well?" "Sugar 6d. ; never charge less." 
"Go on." " Waxlight and apartment, 5s." "Why, I've only been here five 
minutes." "That's not our fault, sir; we never charge less." "Go on." 
"Servants, 2s." "What?" " ^le, boots, and chambermaid; never charge 
less." " Well, what next ? " " The use of plate, glass, and linen, is." " What 
do you mean?" "Teaspoon, tumbler, and table-cloth; never charge less; 
but — we makes you a present of the biling water." " Very well, there's your 
los. 6d., and I shall write to the ' Times.' " " Yes, sir — pen, ink, and paper, is. ; 
never charge less." 


The History of "Punch." 

who had already gained pubhc reputation beyond the band 
of men, brilHant, no doubt, but, for the most part, with 
their successes yet to come — so that he was accorded the 
important role which he filled with peculiar modesty. He 
wrote extremely little, but he seems to have formed some 
distinct notion of his share in the foundation, for Edmund 
Yates records how his father once came home and, throwing 
the first number of Punch on the table, said, " Here is Stir- 
ling Coyne's new paper ! " At last Coyne was charged by 
Lemon (who always referred contemptuously to him as 
" Paddy ") with stealing one of his '' Puff Papers " from a 
Dublin paper. At Puncli s transfer Co3"ne quietly, though dis- 
contentedly, retired from duties which had hitherto brought 
him neither reputation nor pleasure, and only a hundred 
pounds in cash from Landells, and from Douglas Jerrold — 
as I learn from one who heard it — a savage mot, referring to 
his somewhat uncleanly appearance, which will undoubtedly 
adhere — " Stirling Coyne ? / call him Filthy Lucre ! " 

From no choicer spirit than Gilbert 
Abbott a Beckett could Mayhew have 
sought for assistance and literary sup- 
port. He was the first applied to, and 
of all the Staff he had had by far the 
most experience in the production of 
'* comic papers," although he was only 
thirty years of age. His brother, the 
late Hon. T. T. a Beckett, has told 
how he and his chum Henry Mayhew, 
his junior by a year, with a con- 
solidated share capital of three pounds 
and a mortgage to a printer of future 
profits, prepared to start a " satirical paper," to be called 
"The Cerberus" — the joint editors being then still young 
boys. As it happily befell, Mr. a Beckett, senior, discovered 
a proof of the first number, and with his solicitorial eye dis- 
covered some forty-three clear libels in the four columns. He 
hastened to the address on the imprint, and set the matter 
plainly before the printer, who was only too glad to cancel the 


Youthful Exuberance. 273 

whole matter tliat had been " set " upon payment of the bill. 
So deeph' were the lads affronted b}' this unwarrantable 
interference with their journalistic spirit and liberty of the 
subject that they ran away from home to Edinburgh, walking 
all the way ; but soon returned in a woeful plight. From 
that moment, Gilbert turned journalist— it came to him as a 
second nature — and thenceforward supported himself by his 
pen, while establishing a very fair position at the Bar, thanks 
to the support of his father's firm. 

It was in 183 1 that he presented himself prominently before 
the public. Jerrold's "Punch in London" had not yet begun 
its little life of seventeen numbers, so that the moment was 
propitious for a Beckett to embark on a venture of his own ; 
and on December loth it made its first appearance. This was 
" Figaro in London," in which his youthful ardour and plain 
speaking found energetic vent. He was alwa\'s ready, in a 
humorous, bombastic sort of spirit, to smash the aristocracy, 
to chaff Alfred Bunn, to abuse low-class Jews, and to 
discuss the theatre, hi these agi-eeable vocations he hit the 
popular taste, and certainly achieved a considerable circula- 
tion, which, Timbs declares, reached at one time 70,000 copies. 
Small topical cuts, gi-andiloquently set down as " magnificent 
caricatures," were well arranged as a rule, and things were going 
well enough when editor and artist fell out ; Robert Cruikshank 
took Seymour's place — and a Beckett's monthly adulation of 
his old "cartoonist's" work turned suddenly to contempt. 

All this was meant more than half in fun ; it was too \\o- 
lently personal to be serious. Anyway, a Beckett declared in 
the paper that " it is not true that Robert Seymour has gone 
out of his mind — he had none to go out of," and Seymour re- 
taliated heartily with a "sharp cut!' In due course Sevmour 
resumed his place on " Figaro," and retained it to the end. 
In December, 1834, a Beckett had handed over the paper, in 
the height of its prosperity, to Henr}- ]\Iayhew, who continued it 
for a time, and in 1839 it came to an end. Yet on so slender a 
basis as this has been brought against a Beckett the cruel charge 
that it was these assaults which did at a subsequent period 
dri^'e Seymour out of his mind and led to his unhapp}' suicide. 

274 The History of '' PunchT 

After "Figaro" died, and indeed partly during its con- 
tinuance, a Beckett launched out into an extraordinary series 
of extraordinary papers, editing for other proprietors " The 
Wag," "The Evangelical Penny Magazine," Dibdin's " Penn}' 
Trumpet," "The Thief" (under the engaging frankness of 
whose title we may see the forerunner of " Public Opinion "), 
"Poor Richard's Journal," and "The People's Penny Pic- 
tures;" while on his own account he ran successively "The 
Terrific Penny Magazine," " The Ghost, ' " The Lover," 
"The Gallery of Terrors," "The Figaro Monthly Newspaper," 
"The Figaro Caricature Gallery," and " The Comic Magazine." 
But in spite of all this ingenuity in title-devising, and of all 
this dogged perseverance — though one can hardly call it serious- 
ness — not one of these journals obtained public support. As 
a matter of fact, they were the journalistic wild oats of a 
born journalist and an exuberant litterateur, who, as a 
youthful playwright and a budding barrister, now had his 
hands quite full, yet — such was the fever of his industry — 
never full enough. 

His first contribution to Punch, according to W. H. Wills' 
statement, was "The Above Bridge Xavy " (p. n, Volume I., 
1 841) ; but it is practically certain that "Commercial Intelli- 
gence " in the first number is his. " I recollect well," says 
the Hon. T. T. a Beckett, in his Reminiscences, "my brother 
— who wrote for it from the first number to the last that 
appeared in his life-time — bringing me away from my office on 
an assurance that if I accompanied him as far as the Strand, 
he would show me something that would fill me at once 
with gratification and amazement. He kept me in suspense 
until I reached Catherine Street, when he stopped short and 
said, ' Now you shall see me draw a pound from Punch, 
and if that don't amaze you and gratify you, }'ou must have 
but a poor sense of the marvellous and very little brotherly 
sympathy.' " 

Just about the period when the negotiations were being 
carried on with Bradbury and Evans, a Beckett began to fall 
off in the amount of his contributions, and for a time prac- 
tically ceased altogether. At this time he edited the " Squib " 

''Mr. BRiRFLEssr 275 

(28th May, 1842), a folio sheet published at three-halfpence, 
very respectably conducted and printed, and owned by Last 
{Punch's old printer), illustrated by Henning, Hamerton, and 
Newman, Punch artists, treating man}- of Punch's pet subjects 
in the Pu)ich spirit, including " Physiologies," which the older 
paper had made its own. It was also stated that se\-eral of 
the Punch Staff were among its contributors. However this 
may be, the "Squib" went off in December of the same 
year, and a Beckett thenceforward worked loyally for Punch 
for the rest of his life, and bequeathed moreover his two 
sons to Punch's service. 

His popular ''Songs for the Seedy," a series of eight 
poems, were published in this year in Punch, as well as 
"Songs of the Flowers;" and soon his "Ballads of the 
Briefless " made a considerable stir in Punch's circle. 
A Beckett had been called to the Bar some time before, so 
that his ballads as well as the articles from his hand which 
appeared— and, from time to time, continued— over the 
signature of " Mr. Briefless," had a touch of verisimilitude 
which went straight to the soft places in the hearts and 
imagination of the Great Unbriefed. " Mr. Briefless " became 
an institution in the paper, as, in other journals, Mr. 
O.P.O. Philander Smiff, and again, in a lower social scale, 
Mr. Alfred Sloper, became recognised by a later generation. 
This unfortunate gentleman of the Bar — a gentleman always, 
in spite of his weakness of intellect and character — was shown 
in all the difficulties gemrane to his barren profession, and in 
all the ludicrous situations that came natural to the man. 
Many ot his quaint aphorisms are still remembered, such as 
that, elsewhere recorded — "As my laundress makes m}- bed, 
so I must lie upon it," and "The clerk brings down his 
master's grey horsehair wig in sorrow to the Court." Yet he 
was not without self-respect, not to say vanitv, for on the 
occasion of a great political crisis, when the resignation of 
the Ministry was impending, "Mr. Briefless" somewhat in- 
judiciously left his retreat at Gravesend and came up to 
London, in order to be on the spot should he be called 
upon to form or to join the future Cabinet. The onlv 
s 2 

2/6 The History of "Punch." 

summons he received, however, was from his tailor, and, with 
the unfaihng judgment and good sense that characterised him, 
he withdrew once more into the country. "Mr. Briefless" 
and " Mr, Dunup," his friend, were creations that were at 
once recognised, and were welcomed during the fifteen years 
of their occasional appearance. 

In 1843 his ^'Punch's Heathen Mytholog}' " followed Wills' 
chapters on the same subject, and in the following year 
his " Comic Blackstone " — one of the cleverest burlesques 
of its kind in the language — served another purpose than to 
amuse his readers : it forced him to study the commentaries 
— for the first time, it was facetiously said — and so made a 
better law}'er of him, and helped to fit him for the magis- 
terial bench, to which he was soon to be summoned. His 
''Comic Bradshaw " was another success, which Mr. Burnand 
repeated and improved upon years after in his inimitable 
"Out of Town." Mr. Arthur a Beckett, speaking of his 
father's work, tells me : " I remember on one occasion when 
my father had written a drama descriptive of the mysteries 
of Bradshaw, Leech, to whom it was sent for illustration, 
introduced a series of portraits of the author. Lemon, 
noticing this, suggested that the drama should end by the 
hero getting his head shaved, more clearly to understand the 
intricacies of railway traffic. iVIy father adopted the sugges- 
tion, and Leech followed the ' copy.' " 

It was not in these series that his chief work lay, however, 
but in the enormous mass of matter he turned into Pioich's 
pages month b}' month. He was by far the most prolific 
of all the contributors, almost up to the time of his death. 
Articles humorous and pungent on every \ariety of topic, 
verse graceful, bright, and comic, sparkling puns innumerable, 
with increasing thought and sense as the man grew older 
and realised more and more the responsibility of his position 
and Pii/ic/i's — all flowed from him in an unceasing, easy 
stream, distinguished always for its fun and facilit}'. As 
his average contribution to each volume was a hundred 
columns, it will be seen that in the time he was working 
for PitiicJi his total of prose and verse amounted to three 

A Unique Feat. 277 

thousand feet, or a column nearly as high as the Eiffel 
Tower ! There was, besides, the amount of " outside " work 
that came from his pen — he was leader-writer to the " Illus- 
trated London News," and as such was the literary father 
of Shirley Brooks, the grandfather of Mr. Sala, and the great- 
grandfather of Mr. James Payn. He was also leader-writer 
on the '' Times," and on one occasion actually wrote all the 
leaders of the day's issue. This strange coincidence arose 
from his having had a leader " crowded out " from the day 
before, which was naturally set down for use the next day, 
when he contributed his usual article without any question 
arising ; and then a sudden appeal upon a subject with which 
he was specially familiar brought into the paper a third article 
from him — and that in the days, now fifty years ago, when 
the influence and position of the "Times" were perhaps even 
greater, relatively, than they are to-da}^ : at least, when there 
was no competitor that could seriously pretend to share them. 
In addition to this he edited Cruikshank's " Table Book," and 
wrote the Comic Histories of England and Rome. It was, 
it is generally said, on the occasion of the first of these books 
being announced that Douglas Jerrold wrote to Charles Dickens : 
" Punch, I believe, holds its course. . . . Nevertheless, I do 
not very cordially agree with its new spirit. I am convinced 
that the world will get tired (at least, I hope so) of this 
eternal guffaw at all things. After all, life has something 
serious in it. It cannot all be a comic history of humanity. 
Some men would, I believe, write a Comic Sermon on the 
Mount. Think of a Comic History of England ; the drollery 
of Alfred ; the fun of Sir Thomas More in the Tower ; the 
farce of his daughter begging the dear head, and clasping it 
in her coffin on her bosom ! Surely the world will be sick 
of such blasphemy ! . . . When, moreover, the change comes, 
unless Punch goes a little back to his occasional gravities, 
he'll be sure to suffer." And Dickens replied in a letter 
thanking him for sympathetic reviews, in Punch — " Anent 

the ' Comic ' and similar comicalities, I feel exactly 

with you." 

Of course, with the exception of the latter part of Jerrold's 

2/8 The History of ''■ PuiWch." 

outburst, wherein he was undoubtedly right, all this protest 
is exaggerated nonsense — at least, as applied to a Beckett. 
One would think that neither Jerrold nor Dickens could 
bear a burlesque in good taste — Jerrold of all men ! But it 
is just as likely that Jerrold was not referring to a Beckett at all, 
but to Thackeray, whose " Miss Tickletoby's Comic History " 
had already made its appearance in PiincJi, and had been in- 
continently stopped. In any case, the public did not agree 
with him, for both works are still popular favourites. More- 
over, he liked a Beckett too well to harm him in the mind 
of a common friend ; and he was unquestionably aware that 
the loftiness of a Beckett's aims and character rendered him 
unassailable against a charge of irreverence or lack of respect. 
Certain it is, at least, that when a Beckett died at Boulogne 
Jerrold felt the blow so deeply that he gave up that town 
thenceforward as a place of residence, nor would he ever 
visit it again. 

It was at the early age of thirt}'-eight that a Beckett 
was appointed police-magistrate, chiefly owing to the masterly 
report he drew up as Poor-Law Commissioner in respect 
to the notorious Andover Union Workhouse scandals * — 
*' one of the best," said the Home Secretary, " ever presented 
to Parliament." The appointment was much discussed, for 
the general feeling had been educated in the views of Lord 
Selborne, who asserted that no " person " connected with the 
Press nor any "gentleman in the wine trade" could be per- 
mitted to attain to such an honour as the Bench — an absurdity 
which has long since been dismissed. On one occasion, it is 
said, when a Beckett li\-ed at Xo. lo, Hyde Park Gate 
South, Kensington Gore, he was instructed to hold himself 
in readiness, as magistrate, to answer a summons to read the 
Riot Act in Hyde Park to the unruly mob whose methods 
of protest against a popular grievance constituted the " Beer 
Bill Riots " of 1855. That summons never came, luckily for 

* A " Petition," supposed to come from the inmates (written by Percival 
Leigh), appeared in Punch (p. loi, Volume IX.), in which the petitioners begged 
that some of the kitchen refuse and pigs'-wash, hitherto used to oz'tvfatten swine, 
might be reserved for them. This petition had an admirable effect. 

Locking up the Magistrate. 279 

him ; for later in the day he discovered, to his dismay, that 
his careful and solicitous wife, with greater respect for her 
husband's skin than for the needs of Go\-ernment, I'olice, and 
Proletariat combined, had gone out early, after securely locking 
the unconscious magistrate in his library, and had prudently 
carried off the key. 

A Beckett had been one of the shyest and most nervous 
men that ever lived, but his appointment to the police-court 
— first at Greenwich, then at South wark — removed much of 
his undue modesty, and he was recognised as being energetic, 
sagacious, and humane. He was a tremendous worker, in- 
comparably quick, and above all was absolutelv punctual 
in his delivery of '* copy " — a virtue quite sufficient to 
account for his popularity with publishers, who also were 
attracted by his retiring and distinguished manners. Though 
his conversation was bright, he preferred to keep his witti- 
cisms for his public or private writings, as when, in sending 
in a parcel of " copy " to Mark Lemon, he wrote on the 
outside : — 

" Dear Mark — I do herewith enclose 
Some ' copy ' both in verse and prose. 
'Tis neither very bright nor terse — 
The verse is bad — the prose is worse. 
But you, of course, will read and check it. 
Yours ever, G. etcet'ra Beckett." 

This paper passed, as a wrapper, from Lemon to Mr. 
Birket Foster, and from the hands of that gentleman to an 
autograph-hunter undiscoverable. 

A Beckett's wit was exceedingly nimble, and as a con- 
sequence he was a tacile punster. One of his happiest jokes, 
of the kind has been set on record. When the election of 
Louis Napoleon appeared hkely, the policy of Punch in 
respect to it was anxiously discussed at the Table. One of 
the Staff— Thackeray most likely— declared that it would be 
wisest to be indefinite. ''Nonsense," said a Beckett, "if 
you're not definite, you'd better be dumb in it ! " 

While occupied in writing a series of papers called "Mr. 

28o The History of "Punch" 

Punch's Guide Books to the Crystal Palace," illustrated by 
Tenniel, Gilbert a Beckett died at Boulogne from typhus 
fever, his youngest son Walter predeceasing him by two 
days from the same complaint — the grief of anv knowledge 
of it, however, being happily spared the father. He was 
buried in Highgate Cemeter}-, and the inscription engraved 
upon the tombstone was reproduced in an abbreviated and 
modified form fi-om the touching obituarv notice in which his 
brother-workers, through Jerrold's pen, testified to his merits 
and to their affection : " Endowed with a genial, manly spirit ; 
gifted with subtlest powers of wit and humour, they were 
ever exercised to the healthiest and most innocent pur]3ose. 
As a Magistrate, his wise, calm, humane administration of 
the law proved that the fulfilment of the gravest duties is 
not incompatible with the sportiveness of literarv genius. 
'His place knows him not,' but his memory is tenderly 

The connection of Angus Bethune Reach with Punch was 
not of very long duration. With Albert Smith he had been 
joint editor of " The Man in the Moon," and with Shirley 
Brooks was one of the special correspondents of the " jVIorn- 
ing Chronicle " in the South of France, as well as its Parlia- 
mentary reporter. He had followed up Albert Snn'th's series 
of "Natural Histories," of "The Gent," "The Flirt," and 
other specimens of English Society, with " Bores " and 
" Humbugs," which ran through several editions. He had 
joined "The Puppet Show" in 1848, while still quite a 
youth; he had written "The Comic Bradshaw " (which 
found an echo in Punch years later) and one or two success- 
ful novels, and had with Brooks laid siege to a position 
on Punch's Staff. This, it might almost be said, he carried, 
as Brooks did, by assault ; and having given up the editorship 
of " The Man in the ]Moon " with its twent}'-eighth number 
(1849), he was duly summoned to the Punch Table. 

His life was at that time hardly a pleasant one, though 
his industry (for the craze of work was upon him) was as great 
as his versatility, and his field of labour as wide as his know- 
ledge. When he came to the Puiuh Table, h.e found his 

Angus B. Reach Explains His Name. 281 

haven ; but he was heckled, of course, by Douglas Jerrold, on 
the score of his name and its quaint pronunciation. Concern- 
ing this name (pronounced Re-ach in the German manner, 
anglicc Re-ack), Angus once asked his father, a Writer to the 
Signet, in the hearing of my informant, the late H. G. Hine, 
what on earth it meant. "As in Highland Scotch," was the 
reply, *" Dhu ' means 'black' and 'Roy' means 'red,' so 
Reach means half-and-half, or ' brown.' " He therefore insisted 
on its proper pronunciation ; with the natural result. Jerrold 
delighted in teasing him about it, and at a Dinner at the 
"' Ship " at Brighton, where the Punch Staff held one of their 
meetings, Jerrold^ leant forward at dessert and asked — " Mr. 
Re-ack, may I pass you a pe-ack ? " And on another occasion, 
when Reach protested against Jerrold's persistent ill-treatment 
of his name, the wit replied, " Oh, I see. Re-ack when we 
speak to 3'ou, but reach when we read you ! " 

At last, in 1854, Reach's incorrigible industry bore its 
Dead-Sea fruit ; broken down with overwork, his mind utterly 
gave way. Thereupon his friends of the Fielding Club, re- 
inforced by Albert Smith of " The Man in the Moon," joined 
together to play for his benefit Smith's pantomime bur- 
lesque, " Harlequin Guy Fawkes ; or, a Match for a King," 
at the Olympic Theatre, April, 1855.- Arthur Smith, Albert's 
brother, played pantaloon ; Bidwell was harlequin ; Joseph 
Robins, clown ; Albert Smith, Catesby ; Edmund Yates, 
the lover ; and Miss Rosina Wright (" always Rosy, 
always Wright," wrote Smith) was columbine. The rush, 
said E. L. Blanchard, was unprecedented, and stalls were 
cheap at ten pounds. The great broadsword fight between 
Smith (Catesby) and Robins (Guy Fawkes), in the rich 
traditions of the Surrey-Crummies School, was the hit of the 
evening, and has been immortalised by Sir John Tenniel in 
his drawing for Punch (p. 149, Volume XXVHI.), entitled 
"The Amateur Olympians." But Reach did not benefit long 
from the efforts of his friends, and died before he was thirty. 

* Hodder incorrectly gives the mot to Thackeray. 


PUNCH'S writers: 1 84 1. 

H. p. Grattan — W. H. Wills— R. B. Postans — Bread-Tax and Tooth-Tax— 
G. Hodder— G. H. B. Rodwell — Douglas Jerrold— His Caustic Wit— The 
"Q Papers" — A Statesman pour rive — His Sympathy with the Poor and 
Oppressed — Wins for Punch his Political Influence — Ill-health — " Punch's 
Letters" — The "Jenkins" and "Pecksniff" Papers — "Mrs. Caudle" — 
Jerrold's Love of Children, common to the Staff — He Silences his Fellow- 
wits — And is Routed by a Barmaid — He sends his Love to the Staff — And 
they prove theirs. 

The remaining contributors to the first number were Joseph 
Allen, H. P. Grattan, and W. H. \Vills, The contribution of 
the first-named has already been indicated. H. P. " Grattan " 
— whose real name was Plunkett, and whose occasional 
pseudonym was the familiar "Fusbos" — worked well for the 
first numbers and for the Almanac. He was a witty versifier 
and clever dramatist, but he soon tired of the paper and 
directed his energies into other channels. W. H. Wills — 
" Harry Wills " he was always called — was a more important 
and a more faithful contributor. His first verses were "A 
Quarter-day Cogitation" (p. 5), and for some time he was the 
regular dramatic critic of Punch, in which a considerable 
amount of space was accorded to the review of amuse- 
ments of all kinds, and not a little to Charles Kean and his 
histrionic deficiencies. Besides ^^ Punch's Theatre," he wrote 
paragraphs, verses, and criticisms innumerable, including the 
series of "Punch's Natural History of Courtship," illustrated 
by the pencils of Sir John Gilbert, Newman, and Gavarni ; 
"Punch's Comic Mytholog}'/' "Punch's Information for the 
People," as well as "Punch's Valentines," and lively skits like 
" The Burst Boiler and the Broken Heart," and the verses in 
praise of pawnbrokers, "The Uncles of England." After 
helping the Almanac for 1846, his Punch connection was inter- 
rupted for a period through his being called to Edinburgh to 


edit " Chambers's Journal ; " but on his return to London two years 
later he resumed his position in a modified form. He became 
secretary to Charles Dickens, who was then editing the " Daily 
News," as well as his assistant editor on "Household Words," 
and subsequently on "All the Year Round," so that little time 
was left him for humorous composition — though he certainh' 
found leisure to issue " The Family Joe Miller." When he 
was in Edinburgh he married Robert Chambers' sister — a lady 
possessed of true Scottish wit, some of whose pith}' remarks 
are still remembered, such as "The ladies who agitate for 
women's rights are generally men's lefts." 

Of the other two writers who aided in the founding of 
Punch — Postans and George Hodder — there is little to say. 
The first-named, indeed, has alread}' been sufficiently dealt 
with, but it may be added that his last contribution was his 
verses — "A Contribution by Cobden" — on the subject of the 
removal by Sir Robert Peel of the tax on artificial teeth. 
Postans saw his chance, for the Repeal of the Corn Laws was 
already being agitated, and the tooth-tax troubled his mouth 
less than the tax on bread. His final verse ran — 

" Reverse your plan," the Goddess [Commerce] said, 

And smiling stood in all her beauty ; 
" Give me untaxed my daily bread, 

And tax my teeth with double duty." 

Besides his ambassadorial assistance, and in spite of his presence 
at the Punch Club, Hodder was not of much account on the 
paper, either in its formation or its literary production. He 
was, however, related to Punch by marriage, being the husband 
of Henning's beautiful daughter, the niece of Kenny Meadows' 
wife. His last appearances in its pages were in 1843, when four 
contributions (including" Punch's Phrenology") came from him ; 
and then he resumed his usual work of journalist, became 
Thackeray's secretary for a time, and died through the upsetting 
of a coach in Richmond Park. 

Passing by Leman Rede and G. H. B. Rod well (composer, 
playwright, and ballad writer), neither of whom, so far as I 
have been able to ascertain, has left any appreciable trace on 


The History of "Punch." 

Punch, we come to the man to whom, more than to anyone 
else, the paper owed the enormous political influence it once 
enjoyed, and to whom it is indebted for much of the literary 
reputation it still retains— Douglas Jerrold. 

If he was not exactly the wit of his day— for his mind 

lacked the wider sym- 
pathy, the greater gi^asp, 
and gentler refinement of 
Sydney Smith's — he was 
certainly the most bril- 
liant professional humor- 
ist of his generation — 
'' a wit, if not first, in 
the very first line," 
Something of the bitter- 
ness and savagery of 
Gillray's rampant plea- 
santry afflicted his vis 
CO mica ; and when a 
happy thought, however 
unhappy and painful for 
the hearer, came to the 
tip of his tongue, he 
could no more resist 
slipping it off than he 
could wilfully have done 
him injury. 

Mark Lemon used to say, " Punch and I were made for each 
other." With far more reason could that notion of reciprocity 
be applied to Jerrold. Xo man ever gained so much from the 
paper in which he worked. He simply frolicked in its pages, 
that fitted his talent as accurately as his genius suited the 
times in which he lived. It is doubtful whether he would 
make the same mark in it were he alive to-day ; he would have 
to seek another publication and another public, or else adopt 
an utter change of tone. But in those lively times, when, 
obeying the summons addressed to him in Boulogne, he sent 
his first political paper — beginning characteristically with the 


(From the Portrait by Sir D. Maciiee, P.R.S.A., in 
the National Portrait Gallery.) 

Douglas Jerrold's Political Philosophy. 285 

introduction of Peel, in time for the second number — he gave 
his powers full play. And his sparkle was the brighter for 
its setting and its surroundings. His wit was for the most part 
caustic and saturnine, and in no other journal could it have 
so completely identified itself with the enseinhlc of tone. 
Without Punch, Jerrold would certainl}' not ha^■e been so 
distinguished a man ; yet he somewhere says in one of his 
works, with a touch of ingratitude : " If >'0u'd pass for some- 
body, you must sneer at a play, but idolise Punch " — as though 
this were the height of priggishness. He was a keen judge 
of things, and might have held that \iew ; but it was hardl}' 
for him, of all men, to publish it. 

It is not surprising that, with the enormous reputation for 
wit which he enjoyed, and up to which he lived with such 
triumphant ease, all the smarter orphan-jokes of the da}' 
were fathered' upon him. But there was a ring about the 
true Jerroldian humour which the connoisseur could hardh' 
mistake. And the public soon became good enough judges 
of it too, studying it regularly in Punch, and refusing for the 
most part to be led away to look for it in the other 
journals vrhich Jerrold edited, with but indifferent success so far 
as their circulation went. Although his fame was already 
established as a dramatist before Punch was born, I doubt, 
without Punch, he would ever have earned the reputation in 
pure literature which his "Q Papers" helped to found. 

It was with these " O Papers " that he began, and he threw 
into them some of his strongest and most withering writing, 
and oftentimes some of his weakest sense. With his soft 
heart melting for the poor, and his fier}- hatred of oppression 
warping his better judgment, he was led into that unreason- 
ing attack upon property and authority to which Thackeray 
deprecatingh- alludes. Because the poor are unhappy, accord- 
ing to his philosophy, therefore are the rich, most of them, 
their direct oppressors, and ruling bodies, tyrants. Fiercely 
upright and aggressiveh' impulsive in his championship of the 
lowly, he was anything but sound and thorough in his 
premisses ; and had he the power he might have wielded later, 
his defects as a political economist would infallibly have brought 

286 The History of "Punch." 

about disaster. "His Radicalism," his son has told us, "was 
that of a humorist" — that is to say, all his power ajid all 
his wit as a writer (and they had few, if any, equals in the 
press), all his genius for invective and ridicule, and all his 
commanding influence with the public, were directed against 
Societv and the powers that were, simply from a playful 
sense of humour ! Luckily, the evil, or at least the danger, 
thus found a corrective for itself; for although Jerrold's 
power, and with it Punch's, grew with amazing rapidity 
among all classes, his tirades were felt to come more from 
the humorist's heart than from the statesman's brain. It is 
thus easy to draw a comparison between Jerrold and Jean 
Paul Friedrich Richter, of whom Carlyle says : " He is a 
humorist fi^om his inmost soul ; he thinks as a humorist, he 
feels, imagines, acts as a humorist. Sport is the element in 
which his nature lives and works ... A Titan in his sport, as 
in his earnestness, he oversteps all bounds, and riots without 
law or measure." The words might almost have been written 
of Jerrold himself. But, for all that, he was generally recognised 
as a leading champion of the people's rights and reformer of 
their wrongs ; and to this passionate earnestness, to this keen 
wit and shrewd sincerity of the unconsciously special pleader, 
Punch owed most of the earlv notice he obtained, and much 
of his influence in the worlds of politics and Society. 

These papers, then, of which the first was " Punch and 
Peel" (July 24th, 1841), were, in fact, political leading-articles, 
satirical, ironical, bitter, and more often demagogic than 
humorous, though of wit and humour both there was a 
generous undercurrent. Punch showed himself at once a 
fighting man who meant to be in the thick of the fray, a 
politician as impulsive as Macaulay ; and though Jerrold did 
not begin to sign his articles until the ninth week (which has 
given gi'ounds to some writers to assert that " Peel Regularly 
Called In " was the first of his contributions), he soon succeeded 
in setting up " O " as a personality every bit as important 
and influential amongst his readers as Punch himself. The 
Court, the Church, the Political and Social arena, he included 
them all in his comprehensive gaze, and not an injustice, a 

A Statesman "Pour Rire." 287 

sham, an affectation, or a blunder — or wliat he liappenecl to 
regard as such — but came in for exposure and castigation. It 
was fortunate for him and for PuncJi, no doul)t, that he was 
"a humorist;" for liis own bhmders and misjudgments were 
regarded with the more in(hilgence for it, or were condoned 
as the excusable excesses of a chartered jester running plav- 
fully amok. But it must not ht imagined that though a 
humorist he was not desperately sincere. His own early 
struggles, his ghastly experience, as he ever thought it, when 
as a midshipman in the Xavy he saw how authority had to 
be enforced by flogging, and witnessed all the revolting horrors 
of the cockpit during an engagement, had imparted intense 
earnestness to his mind ; and he focussed all his brilliancy 
on the opportunity Punch afforded of tilting at the windmills 
in the plain. The fact seems to be that Jerrold's heart, and 
sometimes his logic and his judgment as well, were a good deal 
of a woman's ; distinguished by every estimable and admirable 
quality, but with little statesnranlike perspicuity and modera- 
tion. Such may truly be said of those early "O Papers," bv 
which, nevertheless, he was able to effect much, then and 
thereafter, greatly to the good of the people, yet often 
wrought some of that intolerance and injustice which he was 
too ready to ascribe to others. 

It was he, more than anyone else, who forced on 
Punch that admixture of Radicalism with his Whigger}' 
which did not wear off for the first years of his life, 
and which was often enough preached with that pic- 
turesqueness of expression which we nowada^'s would 
smile at as " high-falutin." But the lofty ideas of the 
writer carried off this fault of style. His creed was simple 
and clear : Cant was devilish and Samaritanism godly ; to 
him hvpocrisv was the blackest of the vices, and kindness 
the sum of all the virtues. It mattered little that that kindness 
misplaced might bring a train of evils in its place ; sympathy 
was the one thing wanted ; the quinine of stern justice 
(except against the great and rich) should ever be watered 
down with mercy. It was, in fact, the religion less of the 
practical politician and true reformer, than of the wortlu'. 

288 The History of "Puxch." 

upright, kind-hearted, unthinking Christian. His very fear- 
lessness made men fear him, as his motives and abihty 
compelled their respect ; and the majorit}', who cared less for 
political philosophy than for political fervour, applauded him 
blindfold, and in due time accorded to Punch a place in their 
esteem second only to that enjoyed by the " Times." Of 
course, " bitterness " was expected in the satirical papers 
of that day ; and it is not pretended that Jerrold was ever 
so unreasonable or so anarchical in the pages of Punch as 
William Brough revealed himself in the brilliant attacks on 
the propertied classes in which he indulged in his Liverpool 
journal. He lost, of course, no opportunity of assaihng the 
Duke of Wellington, and Louis Philippe, and the " Morning 
Post" (articles in which he attacked the snobs of England 
before Thackeray didj, and other of Punch's permanent butts ; 
but his chief merit lies in his having set up the hereditary- sins 
of Societv as targets, and shot his barbed darts into them 
with unerring accuracy of aim. Of his bitterness it was said 
that it was "healthy — healthy as bark," just as Thackeray 
— was it not ? — had previously said of his own writings in 
" Britannia." 

It was not till a year afterwards (1842) that he began his 
"Punch's Letters to his Son." They were tender enough, 
and show little evidence that they were written in weakness 
and in pain. His health, indeed, gave him periods of agony 
of a rheumatic character, pain in his hands so great that at 
one time he could not write, and at another his whole racked 
body practically paralysed, until a " cure " at Malvern gave him 
back control of it. On another occasion, but that was in later 
years, when he was asked how he was, he replied, " As one 
that is waiting and is waited for," and he often wrote, said 
his son, when the movement of the pen was fierce pain to 
him. We may see in this physical torment, perhaps, the 
mainspring of much of his caustic humour. Mr. Cooper, R.A., 
would ascribe to over-indulgence much of Jerrold's suffering. 
" His countenance was open and bright (when sober !), and 
showed nothing of that satirical bitterness for which he was 
so eminent. . . . In accordance with the fashion of the time 

Jrrrold as a Democrat. 289 

the man who could not drink his bottle and remain sober, 
drank his bottle and got drunk." But the Academician, like 
most teetotalers, would often see drunkenness where Jerrold 
saw merely drink, and probabh' knew nothing of the hitter's 
own feelings towards undue indulgence. " Habitual intoxica- 
tion," wrote Jerrold himself, "is the epitome of every crime;" 
and elsewhere, " The bottle is the devil's crucible." Yet it 
must be admitted that he was not averse to what in his day 
was called "true conviviality," which, as I have heard it 
remarked, never yet made a man a drunkard, though it may 
sometimes have made him drunk. " If Bacchus often leads 
men into quagmires deep as his vats, let us yet do him this 
justice — he sometimes leads them out. Ask your opponent to 
take another glass of wine." And did not Thomas Hood sug- 
gest, when he was told that b}- his \q\q of wine he was shorten- 
ing his days, that anyhow he was lengthening his nights ? 

What may be called the "Jenkins" and the "Pecksniff" 
papers belong to the same year. The former were directed 
against the " Morning Post," which, with other loyal journals, in 
those days adopted a tone towards Court and Society hardly 
in keeping with modern ideas of manly independence, and of 
course its politics were to match. Thackeray and a Beckett 
joined later in the sport. But Jerrold, while believing in 
Thackeray's hatred of the snob, more than suspected him of 
being a snob himself; and Thackeray felt not less convinced 
of the hollowness of Jerrold' s " stalwartness." "Thackeray 
had neither love nor respect for Jerrold's democracy," Vize- 
telly tells us. " I remember him mentioning to me his having 
noticed at the Earl of Carhsle's a presentation copy of one 
of Jerrold's books, the inscription in which ran : ' To the 
Right Honourable the Earl of Carlisle, K.G., K.C.B., etc. etc' 
' Ah ! ' said Thackeray, ' this is the sort of style in which 
your rigid, uncompromising Radical always toadies the great.' " 
And vet both , men were honest toady-haters to the core. 
It was this very hatred of snobbism which inspired Jerrold 
with his cutting retort to Samuel Warren, author of " Ten 
Thousand a Year," who complained that at some aristocratic 
house at which he had recently dined he could positiA'ely 


The History of "Punch." 

get no fish. " I suppose," said Jerrold, " they had eaten it 

all upstairs ! " * 

The "Pecksniff" papers, as already stated, very nearly 
involved Punch in its first libel action. The object of its 
criticism was, of course, Samuel Carter Hall, who, tradition 
says, was the origin of Dickens's immortal conception. This 
creation — the symbol of cant and hypocrisy — was after Jer- 
rold' s own heart, and, thinking less of charity this time than 
of justice, he smote the luckless editor of the " Art Journal " 
hip and thigh, and revelled in his attacks. Hall's articles on 
the industrial art of England were supposed to be dictated 
more bv the complacency and generosit}' of manufacturers 
than bv the artistic excellence of their wares. Sometimes 
Jerrold would use the image of "Pecksniff" for other and 
more serious pui-poses than the baiting of Mr. Hall and his 
little ways, as when, in 1844, l'^^ made this biting onslaught 
on the Prime Minister, Sir Robert Peel : 

"We have heard that Mr. Charles Dickens is about to 
apply to the Court of Chancery for an injunction to prevent 
Sir Robert Peel continuing any longer to personate, in his 
character of Premier, the character of ]\Ir. Pecksniff, as 
delineated in Martin Chiizzlewit, that character being copy- 
right. We hope this rumour is unfounded, as the injunction 
would certainly be refused. Sir Robert Peel is in a condition 
to prove that the part in question has been enacted b}- him 
for a long series of years, and was so long before any of 
Mr. Dickens's works appeared ; in short, that he. Sir Robert 
Peel, is the original Pecksniff." 

The year 1843 was a notable one in Pnnch's calendar, 
lOr in it Jerrold struck that note of sympathy and 
tenderness that was almost immediately to culminate in 
Hood's tragic poem. " The Story of a Feather " was begim, 
and was the gi-eatest success the paper had scored up to that 
time, with the exception of the first Almanac. Dickens, who 
watched for it and read it as it came out, wrote private!}' 
to him that it was " a beautiful book," and his verdict was 

* Dr. Strauss's attribution of this repartee to Robert Brough in reproof of 
James Hannay appears to be quite without foundation. 

Jerrold's Opixion of the " Caudle Lectures." 291 

endorsed by the ever-increasing circle of PuucJis readers. 
" Our Honeymoon " was Jerrold's last series of the year — a year 
which drew from him plenty of outside work. He edited 
Mr. Herbert Ingram's admirable but short-li\-ed " Illuminated 
Magazine," and wrote for it the "Chronicles of Clovernook " 
and the "Chronicles of a Goosequill." It is astonishing, in 
looking back at Jerrold's remarkable work at this period, 
to think that the public reads his books no more, and prefers 
to ruin its literary taste on fifth-rate romances rather than 
on the virile novels of a recent past. 

For a little while nothing of special note, though still a 
great mass of work, came from Jerrold's pen, until 1845, when, 
as prophesied by Hal Baylis {see p. 97), "Mrs. Caudle" burst 
upon the town. In common with a few other things achieved 
by Punch, it created a national furore, and set the whole 
country laughing and talking. Other nations soon took up the 
conversation and the laughter, and " Mrs. Caudle " passed 
into the popular mind and took a permanent place in the 
language in an incredibly short space of time. 

" Some years after I had ceased my connection with 
Punch," says Landells in one of his autobiographical papers 
now in my hands, " I met Douglas Jerrold at the corner of Essex 
Street in the Strand. It was the time when the first number 
of the ' Caudle Curtain Lectures ' appeared. In the course of 
conversation I remarked that I did not read Punch regularly, 
but I had by chance perused the opening chapter of his new 
subject, and I thought, if he followed up the series in the spirit 
he had begun, they would be the most popular that have ever 
appeared in its pages. He laughed heartily and replied^ — ' It 
just shows what stuff the people will swallow. I could write 
such rubbish as that by the yard ; ' and he added, ' I ha^-e before 
said, the public will always pay to be amused, but they will 
never pay to be instructed.' The Caudle Lectures did more 
than anv series of papers for the universal popularity of Punch, 
and there is no doubt but they added greatly to Jerrold's 
reputation, although he always affected not to think so." 

The origin of Mrs. Caudle — one of those women inter- 
minably loquacious and militantly gloomy under fancied 'marital 
T 2 

292 The History of "Punchy 

oppression, who (as Jerrold said of another) " wouldn't allow 
that there was a bright side to the moon " — was the result of 
no mental effort. Henry ^layhew's son has said that the 
character was evolved from the relations of Mr, and Mrs. 
Landells ; but to anyone conversant with them the suggestion 
is palpably absurd. Moreover, Jerrold, himself a good authority, 
one would have thought, declared that she was " the result of 
no thought;" she was merely "wafted into his brain," The 
reason of the immediate success of these ''Curtain Lectures" 
was said to be that every woman in the land recognised in the 
lecturer a gi-atif\'ing resemblance to someone in her own circle. 
It was primarily, no doubt, the inti7ne character of the papers, 
rather than their inherent humour, that tickled the public taste 
though at the same time it gave some oifence, A reminis- 
cence of a literary protegee of JeiTold's — ]\Irs. Xewton Crosland 
— seems to bear this out. In company with her mother, she 
was dining at Jerrold's house, when, " towards the close of the 
meal, a packet arrived — proofs, I fancy ; at any rate, Douglas 
Jerrold opened a letter which visibly disturbed him. ' Hark 
at this,' he said, after a little while ; and he then proceeded 
to read a really pathetic though not very well expressed 
letter from an aggrieved matron, who appealed to him to dis- 
continue or modify- the Caudle Lectures. She declared they 
were bringing discord into families and making a multitude of 
women miserable." 

But thev made a greater multitude of men merry, and Punch 
proceeded with them — indeed, he continued so long that his 
rivals protested loudly, as well they might in their own interests, 
Thev published engravings of handsome sarcophagi, and gave 
similar unmistakable hints that they considered the intemient of 
Mrs. Caudle's corpse a long time overdue ; while " Joe Miller 
the Younger" represented him as "The Modern Paganini play- 
ing on One String : ' Caudle — without variations.' " But Jerrold, 
who had lately moved from Regent's Park to his house. West 
Lodge, at Putney Lower Common, continued there to write 
Caudle Lectures "by the yard "—alternating the locale, accord- 
ing to Mark Lemon, with a tavern in Bom'erie Street. And he 
laughed to see how his papers were translated into nearly every 

A Gallant Apology. 293 

Continental language, and were transferred to the stage both in 
London and the provinces. ^Irs. Keeley made a lifelike Mrs. 
Caudle at the Lyceum — only perhaps a little too fresh and 
charming ; the character in the provinces being often under- 
taken b}' male impersonators, such, for example, as Mr. Warren. 
John Leech executed upon stone a couple of admirable portraits 
of the conjugal pair, which were sold, coloured, for a shilling ; 
but thev were soon pirated and hawked about the streets, and 
the unprincipled conductors of " The Penny Satirist," and 
similar abominations, traded largely not only on the identit}- of 
the Caudles, but on the words of ^Vlrs. Caudle herself — so freely 
that legal steps had to be taken to stop the nuisance. The 
latest edition of this jeu d' esprit is that which has been illus- 
trated by Charles Keene, and it can hardly be doubted that 
in his drawings he often touches the high-water mark of his 
artistic execution. 

In due time Douglas Jerrold, as in duty bound, made the 
amende honorable to the sex he had maligned. He was invited 
to take the chair at a great public meeting held at Bimiingham 
in his honour, when the whole audience rose at him. He was 
asked to speak without fear, " as there was no ^Nlrs. Caudle in 
Bimiingham." He responded that he ''did not believe that 
there was a Mrs. Caudle in the whole world," and the graceful- 
ness of his reference set him at peace with womankind once 
more. In point of fact, he was no more pleased, artistically, with 
the success of Mrs. Caudle among his books than he was pleased 
with the position of " Black-eyed Susan " among his plays, as he 
was well aware that he had done much better work in both 
branches. But for Punch's sake he was delighted. So after the 
death of Mrs. Caudle, which in decency could no longer be 
delayed, Jerrold attempted to carry on the idea b}- marrying 
the widower to the lady of whom his wife had been so jealous ; 
so that ]Mr. Caudle — his head turned b}' his new-born libert}- — 
might, in the " Breakfast Talk " levelled at his second spouse, 
avenge the oppression he had suffered from his first. But the 
experiment, which took place in the Almanac of the following 
year, fell flat, and ]\Ir. and Mrs. Caudle, too, dropped out of 
Mr. Punch's doll-box for good and all. 

294 T^HE History of "Punch." 

Then followed, in 1846, ^'Punch's Complete Letter-writer," 
which in consequence of the odium incurred a short time before 
bv Sir James Graham, the Home Secretary,* by the opening 
of certain letters while they were passing through the post, 
Jerrold sarcastically dedicated to the heckled baronet. He 
did this on the ground that Sir James, having the whole run of 
the Post Office and the fingering of all the letters, must there- 
fore possess " a most refined, most exquisite taste for the graces 
of epistolary composition," and could thoroughly appreciate 
them. This was another version of Hood's lines — 

" A daw's not reckon'd a religious bird 
Because he keeps a-cawing from a steeple," 

and is the pattern on which Mr. Whistler's effort was founded 
— that the mere company of pictures can impart no feeling or 
knowledge of art, else the policeman in the National Gallery 
must be the best of critics. But at this time better work of 
Jerrold's, " St. Giles's and St. James's," was appearing, in his 
'' Shilling Magazine " (newly started by Bradbury and Evans), as 
well as in the " Daily News," under the title of the " Hedgehog 
Papers ; " while " Time Works Wonders " raised his reputation 
higher than ever upon the stage. 

In the same year appeared the commencement of the series 
" Mrs. Bibs' Baby " — but it was not a success, and was entirely 
thrown into the shade, as it appeared, by Thackeray's first 
triumph, the "Snob Papers." The chief charm about " Mrs. 
Bibs' Babv " is that it was the outcome of Jerrold's passionate 
love of children. This delightful trait in Jerrold's character — 
as in Steele's, Fielding's, Goldsmith's, and Dickens's — has been 
common to many of the Punch Staff, as we know in their lives 
and have seen in their works. We all know how Thackeray 
never saw a bov without wanting to tip him — a practical form 
of sympathv which found gi'eat approval. Leech loved all 
children, even the terrible ones, and makes us feel it in his 
drawings. Mr. du Maurier adores the nice and the pretty ones, 
and even has a fatherly sort of pity for the stupid and the ugly. 
Mr. Harrv Furniss's " Romps " reflects his keen delight in young 

* See p. 113 ct seq. 

His Love of Babies. 295 

people, the wilder the better. Shirley Brooks lo\ed to read the 
" Jabberwock " to them, and Sir John Tenniel, like his old chief, 
Mark Lemon, loved them for their childhood's sake — or he would 
never have been able to give us "Alice in Wonderland." Of 
course, there may be others on the Staff who ha\"e no particu- 
larly pronounced feeling in this direction ; but Jerrold would 
often go out of his wa}' to introduce babies into his serious 
articles. He speaks somewhere of something " sweeter than the 
sweetest baby" — and once said that "children are earthly idols 
that hold us from the stars." So he began " Mrs. Bibs' Baby," 
and felt humiliated and disappointed when the public showed no 
glimmer of interest in it, and he was soon induced by his own 
good sense and the editorial hint to desert his latest offspring. 

Then came "The Female Robinson Crusoe," and the last 
(modified) success, "Twelve Fireside Saints;" but outside under- 
takings were almost monopolising his attention. His " Weekl}- 
Xewspaper," founded on the strength of his "Q Papers," had been 
born and was already dead. His powerful novel " A Man Made 
of Money" made his next unqualified success; then in 1850 he 
became attached to the " Examiner," and two years later 
" Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper" brought him an editorship and a 
thousand pounds a }-ear — and he knew at last, and for the first 
time, the meaning of freedom from care. He became, more- 
over, independent of the publishers of Punch, to whom- he was 
pecuniarily indebted, although they had more than once raised 
his salary (once in order to enable him to dispense with working 
for the "Pictorial Times") ; but his indebtedness he felt as a 
tie, which was none the less irksome that it was a golden fetter 
which bound him to his friends. Still, to the end he sent in his 
satires, couplets, and epigrams — stinging, brilliant, and original — 
iokes and sarcasms by the score, but extremely few puns. 

Sometimes, reviving the memories of his early trade, 
he would enter the compositors' room, and, while waiting 
for a proof, would seize a "stick," set up some concluding 
lines or a fresh paragraph in type, and even make his own 
corrections in proof, almost driving the " reader " out of his 
mind, until he learned how the corrections and additions had 
been effected. 

296 The History of ''Punchy 

That Jerr old's wit ran in a higher groove than mere verbal 
quips and cranks is proved by the retorts and epigrams that 
have been preserved and ticketed in cases like a collection of 
brilliant butterflies. When one March or April he tumbled 
backwards into water where, but for the unseasonable weather, 
no water ought to have been, he suggested that the acci- 
dent was " owing to the backward spring ; " reminding us of 
that similar witticism of Henry Compton's, when fine hot 
weather followed suddenly on ]\Iarch snows — "We have jumped 
from winter to summer without a spring." His reply was 
characteristic to the poet Heraud's enquiry as to whether he had 
seen his "Descent into Hell" (then newly published) — " I wish 
to Heaven I had ; " together with his well-known retort to 
Albert Smith, who, before he left the paper, protested coaxingly 
against Jerrold's merciless chaff, adding, " After all, you know, 
we row in the same boat." " True," answered Jerrold, quick as 
thought, " but not with the same skulls." 

But he did not always come off scot-free ; and, like 
many a wit whose tongue is feared, he could be silenced by a 
well-directed thrust which, for want of practice and experience 
in defence, he knew not how to parry. Mr. Charles Williams 
tells me the story, recounted to him by Thackeray, of how, 
when one wet night they were all at a little oyster-shop then 
facing the Strand Theatre, the barmaid Jane, thoroughly out of 
humour at Jerrold's chaff, slapped down before the little man 
the liquor he had ordered, with the words, "There's your 
grog and take care you don't drown yourself ; " with the effect 
of damping his spirits for the rest of the night. When Alfred 
Bunn retaliated with "A Word with Punch,"* Jerrold made no 
reply, to the astonished delight of the rival press. Xo man had 
greater courage than he ; but he probably found that he had 
nothing more to say, seeing that from week to week for years 
past he had written against Bunn all he knew or could think of. 
And when Shirley Brooks struck at him in " The Man in the 
Moon " in the course of a mock election-address beginning—" I 
hate the humbug of the 'wrongs of the poor man' class of writing 
when any sneaking rascal is found poaching and punished lor it" 

* See p. 227 d seq. 

He Sends His Dying Love. 297 

— Jerrold held his peace, and in due time voted to have the 
damaging assailant invited to join Punch's Staif. Mrs. Landells, 
without straining their friendship, called him " the little wasp " 
to his face ; but, as Leigh Hunt more justly said, if he had the 
sting of the bee, he also had the honey. When Jerrold said in 
his wife's presence that a man ought to be able to change a 
spouse like a bank-note — change one of forty for two of twenty 
— he indulged in kindly chaff which she well understood and 
could appreciate ; and when, on the occasion of a party at their 
house, he replied to a question as to who was dancing with 
his wife, " Oh, a member of the Humane Society, I suppose," 
she had no objection to Leech making it into a picture for 
Punch's pages. When Jerrold said anything witty he would 
always laugh frankly and unreservedly at it, and, like Dickens, 
he would burst out laughing as he wrote, when he struck upon 
a comic idea for Punch. 

The report that Mark Lemon said of Douglas Jerrold that 
"he was doubtless considered caustic because he blackened 
every character he touched " is probably apocryphal — though 
Jerrold's occasional treatment of Lemon might perhaps have 
justified some sort of retaliation from his genial Editor. Still, it 
was Jerrold's firm belief, as he declared to ]\Ir. Sidney Cooper, 
R.A., that he had never in his life said or written a bitter thing 
of anyone who did not deser^•e it. But when he was on his 
death-bed, the day before he died, he sent a last affectionate 
message to his old comrades at the Table : " Tell the dear boys 
that if I've ever wounded any of them, I've always loved them." 
Horace Mayhew was with him when he passed away, and 
thence from the bedside brought the dead man's love to them 
as a token to wipe out the sting of words which, if they 
had not been forgotten, had been forgiven long ago. 

After 1848 Jerrold wrote less and less for Punch ; but until 
1857, the year of his death, he faithfully attended at the Table, 
and exerted himself in Punch's behalf. And when he died — 
the greatest blow Punch had hitherto suffered b}' death (for 
Dr. Maginn was never on the Staff) — Henry Mayhew (his 
son-in-law), Thackeray, Horace Mayhew, Mark Lemon, and 
W\ Bradbury were his pall-bearers, and Leech, Shirley Brooks, 

298 The History of "■' Puxch." 

Tom Ta3'lor, John Oxenford, Percival Leigh, James Hanna}^ 
Landells, Kenny Meadows, Albert Smith, and John Tenniel 
attended at his graveside. Dickens took a prominent part in 
raising a fund for the benefit of the widow, and with Thackera}' 
and Dr. W. H. (now Sir Wihiam) Russell gave readings, while 
Dickens' Amateurs made a public appearance, and T. P. Cooke 
returned to the stage for the occasion — with a result amounting 
to /2,ooo. Tom Taylor's feeling address, which was spoken 
at the Adelphi Theatre by Albert Smith, between whom and 
Jerrold a kindlier feeling had latterly spmng up, concluded 

thus : — 

" . . . If one jov 
From earth can reach souls freed from earth's alloy, 
'Tis sure the joy to know kind hands are here 
Drying the widow's and the orphan's tear ; 
Helping them gently o'er lone life's rough ways, 
Sending what light may be to darkling days — 
A better service than to hang with verse, 
As our forefathers did, the poet's hearse. 

Two things our Jerrold left, by death removed — 
The works he wrought : the family he loved. 
The first to-night you honour ; honouring these, 
You lend vour aid to give the others ease." 



PUNCH'S WRITERS : 1 84 1-2. 

rercival Leigh— His Medical Shrewdness— Unsuspected WeaUh— His Abihty 
and Worlv— His Decay — Kindness of the Proprietors to the Old Pensioner 
— Albert Smith— Inspires varied Sentiments — Jerrold's Hostility— " Lord 
Smith"— Parts Company— H. A. Kennedy— Dr. Maginn— John Oxenford— 
W. M. Thackeray— His First Contribution — "Miss Tickletoby " Fails to 
Please— He Withdraws — And Resumes — Rivalry with Jerrold— As an 
Illustrator — A Mysterious Picture— Thackeray's Contributions— And Pseudo- 
nyms— Quaint Orthography—" The Snobs of England "—He Tires of 
Punch — His Motives for Resignation — The Letter— Death of "Dear Old 
Thack " — Punch's Tribute to his Memory. 

How Percival Leigh (otherwise called "Paul Prendergast " in 
those early days) was sought out by George Hodder, on the 
strength of the '* Comic Latin Grammar," and how, after a 
judicious pause, he joined the Staff of Punch, has already been 
made known. He was twenty-four when, in 1835, ^'^^ took 
his M.R.C.S. He had been a medical student of " Bart's," 
but had already abandoned, in great measure, the lancet for 
the pen. He sent in as his first contribution the article to 
accompany Leech's '' Foreign Affairs ; " and though he became 
best known as a humorist, as a doctor he was in his early 
days equally to be respected. Mr. Arthur a Beckett tells the 
following stories of his powers in the direction of diagnosis 
and surgery : — 

Although he had given up practice for a number of ^-ears, he 
was an excellent doctor. Sir James Paget has told me that when 
he and " the Professor " [Leigh's nickname at the Table] were 
fellow-students at " Bart's," the latter was considered quite the 
best man of his year. He was admirable at diagnosis, and I 
shall never forget one of his prognostications. He was in the 
company of a number of litteratctirs and artists who were dining 
together. A well-known dramatist was expected, and did not 
turn up to time. The absentee was allowed ten minutes' grace, 
and then dinner was commenced without him. After a while 
he came in full of apologies. He had missed one train (he lived 
in the suburbs), and would have missed another had he not run 

300 The History of ''Punch!' 

for it. x-Vnd then he laughingly explained to " the Professor " 
that he thought he had sprained his leg. Percival Leigh, who 
had been looking at him with keen attention since his entrance, 
asked him a couple of questions ; and having received replies 
to them, spoke as follows : " My dear fellow, if j-ou will take my 
advice, you will go home at once in a cab and get to bed. 
Send for your doctor and make him overhaul you. But call 
special attention to the sprain." The dramatist, who was one of 
" the Professor's '" oldest friends, obeyed orders and departed. Then 
the rest of the company twitted the doctor on the clever ruse 
" of getting rid of one who deserved to be punished for keeping the 
soup waiting." Of course, it was only chaff, but " the Professor " 
took it seriously. " No, ni}' boj-s," he replied, very gravely, 
" I did not send him away on our account, but in his own 
interest. Of course, while there is life there is hope ; but, unless 
I am very greatly mistaken, we shall never see him again." And 
"the Professor" was right. Within a month the dramatist had 
joined the silent majority. 

The second story about my dear old friend is not so grim 
as its predecessor. 

Mr. Percival Leigh, when he was more than seventy years 
old, was knocked down by a passing vehicle as he was crossing 
the road. He was immediately picked up by a policeman and 
conveyed in a cab to the nearest hospital. " The Professor," 
who was covered in mud, asked to be taken home, but the 
constable would not listen to him. So he was carried into the 
accident ward. After a while he was seen by the house-surgeon 
and his assistant. The two medicos entirely ignored " the Pro- 
fessor," and gave their exclusive attention to his leg. " I think 
you are wrong," said Mr. Leigh, in a mild tone of voice, after 
he had listened to their conversation for a few moments. The 
doctors paid not the slightest attention to the observation, and 
continued their investigations. Now " the Professor " was the 
most mild and kindly of gentlemen — courteous to a degree, and as 
polished as a traditional P'renchman^ — but when he was roused he was 
— well, emphatically roused. He attempted a second remonstrance, 
but with the same result. The two medicos calmly ignored him. 
" Drop that leg, you confounded blockheads ! " he thundered 
out suddenly. " Can't you see, you idiots, that I have fractured 

my ,'' and then he supplied a highly technical and scientific 

description of his accident. The two medicos stared at " the 
Professor " in blank astonishment. Then "the Professor" abandoned 

Percival Leigh. 301 

his incognito, and gave his name and quaUty. " You see, 
gentlemen," he said, resuming his customary courteous tone, " I 
venture to beheve that I know more about my leg than. you do. 
It has been under my personal observation all my life, and I 
consequently have given more time to studying its constitution 
and idiosyncracies than you, naturally (with all your numerous 
engagements), could afford to devote to such a purpose ! " 

Leigh had a philosopher's head and a fine face. In 
later life he was extremely careless in his person — so much 
so that when he died Mr. Bradbury, with his usual thought- 
fulness, went to the funeral with a cheque-book in his pocket, 
intending, if necessary, to pay the undertaker's expenses. His 
surprise, therefore, was great when he learned that " the Pro- 
fessor " had died worth from ten to eleven thousand pounds. 
Leigh, who li^•ed for some years in Hammersmith Road, in a 
house which, judged from its exterior, promised little comfort 
within, was a profound Shakespearean and a good classical 
scholar, and from these attainments he earned the sobriquet by 
which he was known. He vied with Jerrold himself in his know- 
ledge of the Bard, and was fond of spouting the poets, classic 
and English, with the least possible excuse, breaking out into 
verse with a loud voice, utterly oblivious of his companions. 
It was he who introduced into the pages of Punch the assump- 
tion of scholarship in its readers, and so acquired at once for 
the paper a position never held by any other humorous journal 
in this country. His work, which for many years averaged 
a column and a half each week, included nearly every sort of 
contribution known to Pimch, including, in 1845, his striking 
"Pauper Song" — the wail of the poor man who prefers the 
prison to the workhouse, the second stanza running thus : — 

" There shall I get the larger crust, 

The warmer house-room there ; 
And choose a prison since I must, 

I'll choose it for its fare. 
The Dog will snatch the biggest bone. 

So much the wiser he : 
Call me a Dog ; — the name I'll own ; — 

The gaol — the gaol for me." 

302 The History of "Punch." 

In 1843 Leigh began his etfectively satirical " Pu7ich's 
Labours of Hercules," and in 1849 "Mr. Pipps's Diary" 
appeared as the text accompanying Doyle's pictures of " Ye 
Manners and Customs of ye Engh'she." The extraordinary 
success of this admirable parody was, perhaps, the greatest 
he ever won, though he achieved many. He was essentially 
a "safe man" at his work, and for that reason he would act 
as locum tenens to Shirley Brooks when that Editor was away ; 
and the only occasions on which he failed (so far as I can 
ascertain) except towards the end, was in May, 1847, when his 
wife died, and in April of the following year, when he lost his 
father. He alwa}'s had a strong feeling for art, both in subject 
and treatment, and was always very fastidious about his work ; 
he would touch up a poem o^■er and over again, and take the 
utmost pains \\\\\\ metre and "swing" until he was satisfied. 
But as he grew old it became evident that the "Professor" 
was bevond his work, and althoudi he attended the Table 
with the utmost regularity up to the very end, the decay of 
nature robbed him of his value as a member of the Staff. 
Then came an example of the kindliness of spirit that has 
animated for so long the little coterie of humorists of Bouverie 
Street and the generosity of the men for whom they work. 
For a long while before his death "the Professor's" copy had 
been practicalh' useless to the Editor ; yet everything was 
done to spare him the pain of rejection. At hrst ]\Ir. Bur- 
nand or Mr. Arthur a Beckett would rewrite the paragraphs ; 
and Leigh's delight when they were printed was sad to see. 
But soon it was impossible to conceal the fact that they 
were utterly useless ; and so for some years it was the 
practice to set his "copy" up in type and to send him proofs, 
which he duly corrected and returned. But they never 
appeared in the paper, nor was ever question asked nor 
explanation offered. Did the old gentleman forget all about 
them ? Or was he hoping against hope that some day room 
might again be found for him in the pages to which he had 
contributed with so much applause ? Or did he appreciate 
the real motive and kindly feeling of the proprietors, who, 
though they could not use his work, actually increased his 

Albert Smith. 


salary ? Whatever the cause, ''the Professor" to the last 
maintained a pathetic silence. He died at Oak Cottage, King 
Street, Hammersmith, on October 24th, 1889, and was laid to 
rest in the Hammersmith Cemeter}' in the presence of a 
circle of old Punch friends. For one thing, at least, he 
had laid the paper under a deep debt of gratitude — he had 
introduced to it his hospital chum and lifelong friend, John 
Leech, and that was a service which could never be forgotten. 

The third of the medical 
trio was Albert Smith, a 
writer who was not fortu- 
nate in making a good im- 
pression on the majority of 
his associates. With Leech, 
with whom he had shared 
rooms in his '' sawbones 
days," he remained a stead- 
fast friend ; but it is prob- 
able that that friendship 
was maintained by the artist 
by reason of the other's 
good nature, and in spite of 
his manner. Henry Vize- 
telly, who evidently bore him no particular good-will, wrote to 
me his recollections of the man in these words : '' He was not 
the amiable person depicted by Yates in his ' Recollections.' He 
was vulgar and bumptious in manner until he became polished 
by concerting with ' swells ' after the success of his entertain- 
ments. He always had a keen eye for the main chance, and 
never neglected an opportunity for self-advertisement. Jerrold 
and Thackeray detested him, though only Jerrold showed 
this openly — which he occasionally did to Smith's face, in the 
most offensive manner. Albert Smith retained his position 
on Punch for some time after Jerrold's animosity had 
declared itself — first, because his copy was always certain ; 
and secondly, because he and Leech were gi'eat friends, and 
Leech was then a power — though not in the same degree 
as Jerrold, who was almost absolute." These strictures are 

(^Froiii an Engraving by Cook.) 

304 The History of ''Punchy 

repeated in Vizetelh^'s autobiography. Smith's " Ph^-siologies,' 
he says, which were some of them enlarged from the Punch 
sketches, brought him great popular favour, in spite of 
their slight intrinsic worth. Thackeray was invited by 
Vizetelly to produce similar sketches at a hundred pounds 
apiece — which was double the amount he was then receiving 
for the monthly parts of " Vanity Fair;" but he declined to do 
anything " in the Albert Smith line," and he similarly refused 
to write for " Gavarni in London," of which Smith was 
editor. " Pigmy as Jerrold physically was, Albert Smith 
quailed before him ; " for Jerr old's stinging attacks and 
repartees were merciless. So Smith bought a toy-whip, which 
he playfullv produced to his ft-iends with the explanation 
that he intended to apply it to " Master Jerrold ; " but he 
was never known to bring it out in his tormentor's presence. 
Jerrold's "skull" witticism has already been recorded; and 
of the same kind was his loud enquiry over the Punch 
dinner-table — when Smith's obtrusive foible of calling his 
acquaintances by their abbreviated Christian names became 
intolerable — " I say. Leech, how long is it necessary for a 
man to know you before he can call you 'Jack' ?" When 
Jerrold first saw Smith's initials, he had said that he believed 
they were " onlv two-thirds of the truth " — and he continued 
to act upon the assumption until Smith left Punch and had 
become a successful " Entertainer." Then a truce was called, 
for his Mont Blanc ascent and the " Entertainment " he made 
out of it (of which Leech himself said, "It's only bad John 
Parry") had made of Smith one of the lions of the day, and 
of his St. Bernard, which had accompanied him, the most 
petted beast in the metropolis. But to the end he remained, 
generallv speaking, the best-abused humorist of his day. 
He did not even succeed in escaping the quiet scorn of 
his occasional companion, Dickens, whose literary style it 
was reported he was trying to copy. The novelist, who 
much enjoyed Albert's sobriquet of " Lord Smith," simply 
shrugged his shoulders as he replied — " We all have our 
Smiths." It is believed by those who should know best 
that the cause of the final rupture between Smith, and Punch 

Albert Smith's " Phys/ologles:' 305. 

was the discovery that some of his articles were simpl}- 
adaptations from the French; and this beHef is still current 
in the Punch office. 

Smith's connection with Punch was through his engage- 
ment for the " Cosmorama," on which Landells and Last 
committed infanticide at the starting of Punch. He sent hiS' 
first paper from his temporar}- rooms at Chertsey ; it was 
the burlesque, " Transactions and Yearly Report of the Hook- 
ham -cum-Snivey Literary, Scientific, and Mechanics' Institute " 
(i2th September, 1841). This was succeeded in the following 
month with the opening of his "Physiology of a London 
Medical Student," which was rather laughable in itself, while 
displaying a wonderful intimacy with the rough and noisy 
world with which it dealt. The idea, however, had already 
been sketched by Percival Leigh in " The Heads of the People.'' 
Smith was now living at 14, Percy Street, Tottenham Court 
Road, in an unpalatial lodging, where he nominally carried 
on the profession of surgeon-dentist ; but his best energies 
were thrown into his literary work, and there is no doubt 
that that work was to the taste of the Punch readers. Mr. 
Walton Henning has told me how his father, A. S. Henning-. 
calling upon Smith concerning his work, found him like a 
typical Bob Sawyer, with his heels upon the table, playing 
the cornet as a grand finale to his breakfast. Then he would 
don his French workman's blouse and scribble for dear life. 
The "Physiology of London Evening Parties," which was 
originally written by him in 1839 for the "Literary World," 
was illustrated by Newman, who was still a far more 
important man on Punch than Leech ; and the series was 
followed by " Curiosities of Medical Experiences," the less 
successful " Side-scenes of Every-day Society," and " Physiology 
of a London Idler" — which, taken together, were voted the 
most entertaining descriptions of social life that Punch was ]5ub- 
lishing," even at a time when Punch was declared to be ^■astly 
entertaining. \'erse, epigram, jokelets, and articles on current 
events came from Albert Smith's pen before the strained rela- 
tions between the parties and the irresistible hostilitv of Jerrold 
bore him down, though it is probable that the practical joke' 

3o6 The History of ''Punch!' 

on him described among the proceedings of the Punch Club 
had some part in bringing matters to a head ; and on January 
7th, 1844, his last contribution appeared — " Important and 
Telegraphic." Punch, in reply to a criticism of the " Boston 
Atlas," declared that Smith left in December, 1843 ; but Albert 
Smith himself wrote (Xovember 20th, 1845) to Mr. James 
Silk Buckingham (who was protesting to him against Punch's 
attacks) : " I have not written or suggested anything for Punch 
since January, 1844. ... I withdrew in consequence of being 
unable to agree with Mr. ]\Iark Lemon, the editor. Indeed, 
I have been attacked since then through my novel of ' The 
Marchioness of Brinvilliers ' both in Punch and in ' Jerrold's 
Magazine,' for which I do not care a straw." 

It was after his retirement from Punch that, in conjunction 
with A. B. Reach, he started " The Man in the Moon," with 
the express purpose of. making himself obnoxious to Punch 
in general and Jerrold in particular, in which laudable desire 
he in part, at least, succeeded ; while at the same time he 
turned his attention to the pubHshers by bringing out a little 
Christmas volume entitled " A Bowl of Punch." But in time 
all bitterness disappeared ; Albert the Great, as Smith was 
called, had "discovered" Mont Blanc and Chamonix, and 
peace prevailed, though to the end Smith had no further 
access to Punch's pages. 

The last regular contributor of the year 1841 whose name 
has been preserved is H. A. Kennedy, whose parodies of 
Horace were as good as anything Leigh aver did of the 
kind. The parody of Horace's " Donee gratus " is worth 
preserving, and that (p. 20, Volume ^11.) of "Ad Lydiam " — 
becomingly rendered into a tender ode " To Judy " — is hardly 
less excellent. 

Dr. Maginn's connection with Punch began with the first 
Almanac, while he was, with James Hannay, in residence in 
the " Fleet." The doctor, as one of the most versatile writers 
of the day, was looked upon by the " Punchites " as useful 
for their purpose as he was for any of the rival papers with 
which he was connected. " He would write a leader for the 
'Standard' one evening," it is said in J. F. Clarke's ." Auto- 


Dr. Maginn.—John Ox en ford. 307 

biographical Recollections," "answer it in the 'True Sun' 
the following day, and abuse both in the ' John Bull ' on the 
ensuing Sunday." Such a man could not be without a sense 
of humour, especially with ample gin and water to enrich 
it and poverty to point it. He was the brilliant Morgan 
O'Doherty of "Fraser" and "Blackwood," and was nearly, but 
not quite, " Captain Shandon " in " Pendennis." Thackeray had 
an affectionate admiration for his talents. But the times and 
the doctor were out of gear ; he lost sympathy through his 
persecution of " L.E.L.," and his misfortunes led him to 
follow a class of journalism out of all consonance with his 
powers and better feeling; he is credited with having been 
the forerunner of scurrilous society-journalism. But no hint 
of these defects is apparent in his work for Punch, in which, 
perhaps, he saw an opportunity for some degree of re-instate- 
ment ; and he conveyed his gratitude in a five-stanza poem in 
praise of the paper (p. 131, Vol. II.), "Verses by a Bard- 
Much be-rhymed in Punch!' But he was near his end ; and 
wdien he died a year afterwards, Punch devoted to him the 
first of his little black-bordered obituaries. 

The year 1842 was the stormiest and most threatening 
in Punch's history ; so that, with an empty till and growing 
liabilities, there was no disposition towards introducing new 
contributors involving the principle of " cash down." Only 
three names belong to this year, but all were men of great 
importance, each in his own line — John Oxenford, W. M. 
Thackeray, and Horace Mayhew. In common with Covne, 
Oxenford had a stronger sympathy for the stage than for 
periodical literature, so that after the tenth volume he ceased 
to be even an occasional contributor. His first paper was 
" Herr Dobler and the Candle Counter." The popular conjurer 
had advertised that to begin his performance and illumine his 
stage he would light two hundred candles by a single pistol- 
shot. (This was in the very early days of practical electricity.) 
The "Times" had reported the entertainment, but complained 
that, having counted the number of candles, the}-^ found there 
were onh' eight3'-seven ! — whereupon Oxenford executed a 
literary dance upon the "Times" reporter. Thenceforward, he 
u 2 


The History of "Punchy 


{Front a Photograph by F ra- 
ddle and Young.) 

contributed with some degi-ee of regularity. After his ''Christ- 
mas Game" (Jamiary 6th, 1844) he was, on the 3rd of the 
following year, accounted upon the regular Staff, although 
from that time he did but little. Verse, clever and bright, 

burlesque, and the like, in the true spirit 
of Punch, came from time to time ; but 
there was not enough of his work to 
place him in rank with the chief of the 
contributors. "There is one," Mr. Jabez 
Hogg reminds me, " whose name is 
rarely mentioned in connection with 
the early days of Punch and the ' Illus- 
trated London Xews.' I refer to John 
Oxenford. He did much good work 
in his day, and his contributions to 
Punch assisted greatly to increase its 
reputation. He was a wit of the first 

The same number that introduced John Oxenford to the 
Punch reader presented also William Makepeace Thackeray 
— a connection that did not immediately attract public notice, 
perhaps, though it soon bore the richest fruit for both author 
and publisher. 

It was about se\'en years after the first abortive attempt 
to found a " London Charivari " that Thackeray — who had 
been one of the band — commenced that connection with 
Punch which was to be of equal ad^•antage both to him 
and the paper. " It was a good day for himself, the journal, 
and the world," said Shirley Brooks, " when Thackeray found 
Punch. At first," continues his biogi'apher, " I should gather 
that he had doubts as to the advisability of joining in the 
new and, so tar, not very promising venture ; " and on the 
22nd of May, 1842, we find Fitzgerald uttering a warning 
note, and writing to a common friend : " Tell Thackeray not 
to go to Punch vet." But his friend paid little heed to the 
counsel, for within a month appeared what I am satisfied 
is Thackeray's first contribution to Punch — " The Legend of 
Jawbrahim-Heraudee " (p. 254, first volume, for 1842) with a 

Thackeray's First Contribution. 


sketch undoubtedly by his liand ; and at the beginning ot 
the very next vohune, a fortnight later, was begun the series 
entitled " Miss Tickletoby's Lectures on English History." 
.These, continued for a time, made no sort of hit, and in due 
course they were discontinued ; but 
there seems to have been in them, 
and especially in the sketches, the 
germ of the idea, so perfectly 
worked out a little later by Gil- 
bert a Beckett and Leech — though 
not for Punch : '' The Comic His- 
tory of England" and "The Comic 
History of Rome." 

When Thackeray joined the 
Punch circle — or, rather, when he 
first wrote for it. for he was not on 
the Staff for some little time — he 
entered, with the credentials of 
" Eraser " and the '' Lish Sketch 
Book," into a company of which 
several members were already his 
friends, who, knowing him as a 
humorist with both pen and pencil, 
were glad to secure so useful a man 
as contributor. " Very early in the 
work," writes Landells in his private 
papers, which lie before me, " Mr. Mayhew was desirous to 
secure his co-operation, and it was rather singular that the 
first paper which the gi-eat man contributed to Puncli was 
rejected as unsuitable." 

This was hardly correct : it would be more accurate 
to say that the first extended series was suddenh' cut 
short. The circumstances of the extinction of Miss Tickle- 
toby are shown in the following letter by Thackeray, which 
■has been placed at my disposal b}" Messrs. Bradbur}- and 
Agnew : — 

(Frojit a Private Photograph.) 

3IO The History of " Punch '^ 

Halverstown, Kildare, 
Gentlemen, Sept. 27, 1842. 

Your letter, containing an enclosure of ^25, has been 
forwarded to me, and I am obliged to you for the remittance. 
Mr. Lemon has previously written to me to explain the delay, 
and I had also received a letter from Mr, Landells, who told me, 
what I was sorry to learn, that you were dissatisfied with my 
contributions to "Punch." I wish that my writings had the good 
fortune to please everyone ; but all I can do, however, is to do 
my best, which has been done in this case, just as much as if 
I had been writing for any more dignified periodical. 

But I have no wish to continue the original agreement made 
between us, as it is dissatisfactory to you and, possibly, injurious 
to your work ; and shall gladl}- cease Mrs. \_stc'] Tickletoby's 
Lectures, hoping that 3'ou will be able to supply her place with 
some more amusing and lively correspondent. 

I shall pass the winter either in Paris or in London where, 
very probably, I may find some other matter more suitable to 
the paper, in which case I shall make another attempt upon 
" Punch.''— Meanwhile, gentlemen, I remain, your very obedient 
Servant, ^y M Thackeray. 

Gradually, however, and by sure degrees, Thackeray fell 
into the spirit of the paper, and became known to the 
general public first as a ^^ Punch man," and then as ^^ the 
Punch man," and for some time recognised by that, rather 
than by his work in other directions. He became more and 
more highly appreciated as one of those who contributed 
to that speciality of humour for which Punch had alread)' 
established a reputation while creating a demand. All the 
while, during the first ten years, he regarded the paper as a 
sort of stepping-stone to an independent literary position ; and 
he was not very long in using his opportunity for making 
a reputation equal to that of Jerrold himself — but a literary^ 
and in no sense a political one. Jen^old, whose influence was 
political quite as much as literary and dramatic, undoubtedly 
did a good deal of unconscious service in spurring Thackeray 
with the spirit of emulation. It has already been pointed 
out how little love was lost between the two men at the 
weekly Dinner, and how Jen-old sped his galling little shafts 

Thackeray versus Jerrold. 311 

of clever personalities at Carlyle's "half-monstrous Cornish 
giant ; " how, in short, they were, and remained to the 
end, the friendliest and most amiable of enemies. 

Vizetelh' has recorded how Thackera}' would tear the 
postal-wrapper nervously from the newly-delivered Punch in 
order to " see what Master Douglas has to say this week " — 
(there is a world of dislike and scorn in that courtes}'-title 
of "Master") — and how, when he gave a lunch in honour 
of the French humorous draughtsman "Cham," he invited 
"Big" Higgins, Tom Taylor, Richard Doyle, and Leech, 
all Punch men, to meet him, but neither Mark Lemon nor 
Jerrold, for " Young Douglas, if asked, would most likely not 
come ; but if he did, he'd take especial care that his own 
effulgence should obscure all lesser lights." It was not 
Arcedeckne, I am assured by Mr. Cuthbert Bradley (" Cuth- 
bert Bede's" son), but JeiTold, who, in Mark Lemon's hear- 
ing, crushingly criticised Thackeray's first public reading to 
the lecturer's face, with the laconic remark, " Wants a 
piano ! " Thackeray, as we all know, was free enough 
himself in his criticisms of his own features, and his many 
sketches of his dear old broken nose are familiar enough 
to every lover of the man. Yet he was not best pleased 
when he entered the Punch dining-room a little late, apologis- 
ing for his unpunctuality through having been detained at 
a christening, at which he had stood sponsor to his friend's 
boy, to be met with JeiTold's pungent exclamation — " Good 
Lord, Thackeray ! I hope you didn't present the child with 
your own mug!" And still less was he flattered when he 
heard that, on its being reported in the Punch office that 
he was " turning Roman," simply because he defended Doyle's 
secession, Jerrold tartly remarked that " he'd best begin with 
his nose." (Jerrold, by the way, uses the same conceit in a 
letter to Sir Charles Dilke when repeating a rumour of the 

attempted conversion of the novelist by "Lady .") These 

and many more sardonic thrusts would amply account for 
Thackeray's dislike ; yet that the men's relations were not 
half so disagreeable as has generally been belieyed is shown 
by the fact of Thackeray coming up specially to town from 


The History of '' Puxch!' 

jhis lecturing tour in order to support Jerrold on the night 
of his election at the Refomi Club, and delightedly exclaim- 
ing, when the result was known — " We've got the little 
man in ! " Nor would he, perhaps, have shown himself and 
Jerrold, in the accompanying cut, listening in fi-aternal shame- 

{D>-a7UH by IV. 71/. Thackeray.) 

author's MISERIES, NO. VI. 

Old gentleman. Miss Wiggets. Two authors. 

Old gentleman : " I am sorry to see you occupied, my dear Miss Wiggets, with 
that trivial paper Punch. A railway is not a place, in my opinion, for jokes. I 
Tiever joke — never." 

Miss W. : " So I should think, sir." 

Old gentleman : "And, besides, are you aware who are the conductors of that 
paper, and that they are Chartists, Deists, Atheists, Anarchists, and Socialists, to 
a man ? I have it from the best authority that they meet together once a week 
in a tavern in St. Giles's, where they concoct their infamous print. The chief 
part of their income is derived from threatening letters which they send to the 
nobility and gentry. The principal writer is a returned convict. Two have been 
tried at the Old Bailey ; and their artist — as for their artist . . . ." 

Gjm)-^ ; " Swin-dun ! Sta-tion ! " (P»;;c/(. p. 198, Vol. XV., 1848.) 

facedness and disgust to a fellow-passenger declaiming against 
(the wickedness and profanity, of Pinic/i. 

Thackeray Self-Judged. 313 

From the beginning, one of Thackeray's strong points on 
the Staff was that he was a *^ pen-and-pencil man," that he 
worked indifferently as artist or as writer, and not only as 
a writer, but as a prose-and-poem man. It has been said, 
with authority, that Thackeray neNer illustrated any articles 
but his own ; but that is wholly incorrect. If you open 
Volume MIL, at p. 266, you will find a drawing of his showing 
Jack Tar and his Poll waltzing an accompaniment to an article 
on the " Debate on the Navy," which was written b>- Gilbert a 
Beckett. To the s^mie writer's chapter on ''The Footman," in 
his series of '' Puncli s Guide to Servants" (p. 40, Volume IX.), 
is a characteristic illustration by Thackera}', and again on the 
following page to " The Gomersal Museu.n." A little farther 
on, on p. 56, is a clever cut. of a lovers' tetc-a-Utc beside a 
tea-table, to accompany Percival Leigh's ballad of "The 
Lowly Bard to his Lad}- Lo^-e ; " and many similar results will 
reward a more extended search. 

Thackeray's own opinion of his powers as a draughtsman 
.is not easy to determine. We know, of course, from his own 
lips, his (? affected) surprise at Dickens not finding his art 
good enough to illustrate " Pickwick ',' vice Seymour, deceased. 
■But in the interval between this application in 1S36 and his 
later work he probably came to a more critical estimate of 
■the real value of his draughtsmanship — that work which had 
been so laboriously and earnestly evolved from his studies in 
the Louvre and elsewhere. When ^^izetelly was engi-aving 
Thackeray's designs to " Mrs. Perkin's Ball," which on account 
of their unsophisticated artistic character, were retouched by 
a clever young draughtsman, the artist wrote that there was 
a "je ne sais quoi " in his "vile drawing" which was worth 
retaining. " Somehow," he said, " I prefer my Nuremberg dolls 
to Mr. Thwaites's superfine wax models." After Edmund 
A'ates had started that brilliant little journal or magazine, 
which was not destined, however, to live as long as it 
deserved, Thackeray wrote to him : " You have a new artist 
on ' The Train,' I see, my dear Yates. I have been looking 
at his work, and I have solved a problem. I find there 
is, a man alive who draws worse than mvself ! " Yet he 

314 The History of "Punch." 

continued to draw for Punch with zeal ; but when an acquaint- 
ance told him, probably in all sincerity, "but you can draw," 
Thackeray brusqueh- put down the compliment to the toadyism 
of a "snob." Trollope declares that Thackeray "never 
learned to draw — perhaps, never could have learned ; " but 
he did not see that in the art of illustration, especially of a 
humorous character, there is something more important than 
academic coiTectness and technical mastery. He moved his 
pencil slowly, with a deliberate broad touch, without haste, and 
with no more attempt at refinement than was natural to him. 
Yet his hand was capable of astonishing delicacy of touch ; 
and I have seen the Lord's Prayer written by him 6ne day 
at the Punch Table, within the space of a threepenny-piece, 
which is a marvel of legibility. There is a character about 
Thackeray's work — his " je ne sais quoi " — that makes us 
foreive him his daring faults — indeed, we almost come to 
love him for them — when once we have fi^ankly recognised 
that it was in gi^eat measure his facility in drawing that was 
his artistic ruin. There is always something of the carica- 
turist in his most serious and important sketches — most of all, 
perhaps, in his etchings. It is in his smallest cuts that he 
is seen to the best advantage, and in them he occasionally 
challenges comparison with Doyle and Leech himself. 

In the execution of his Punch sketches, in nearly all the 
three hundred and eighty of them, Thackeray was as sum- 
mary as in the turning of a ballad, and I describe elsewhere 
how he would make a drawing on the wood while the en- 
graver waited and chatted over a cigar. It was clearly not 
his opinion that, as is nowadays adjudged to be the proper 
course, elaborate studies should first be made from the life- 
model, even for the execution of a simple Punch picture. 
He prefen-ed, when possible, to confine his pencil to the 
illustration of his own text ; but on occasion he would pro- 
duce a "social" cut— a drawing, that is to sa}', with a joke 
printed beneath. Sometimes it would be in the manner 
of Leech, as in the joke in Volume IX. (p. 3) called "The 
Ascot Cup Day," wherein a hot-potato-seller asks a small 
boy with a broom, " Wh}' are you on the crossing. 


James ? Is your father Hill ? " and is informed " Xo. He's 
drove mother down to Hascot." More personal was such 
work as "The Stags, a Drama of To-day," in which a 
retired thimblerigger and an unfortunate costermonger, under 
a magniiicent alias, take advantage of the railway mania to 
make their application for shares — for which they could not 
pay, of course, if things went wrong — in accordance with the 
game of "heads I win, tails I vanish," at that time exten- 
sively played throughout the country. Later on (in \'olume 
XV.), following " The Hea\nes/' he gave, in seven scenes, a 
panorama of an " Author's Miseries." In 1847 (Volume XII., 
p. 59) Thackeray contributed a "social" picture which is to 
this day a wonder to all beholders. It is entitled " Homd 
Tragedy in Private Life," and represents a room in which two 
ladies, or a lady and a servant, are in a state of the greatest 
alami. What the meaning of it all is there is nothing what- 
ever to indicate (unless it be that something has fallen on 
the taller lady's dress); and on its appearance the "Man in 
the Moon" oft'ered a reward of ^500 and a free pardon to 
anyone who would publish an explanation. The reward 
was never claimed ; and Thackeray's contribution remains 
one of Punch' s Prize Puzzles, unsolved, and, apparently, 

It was in X^'o. 137 — that notable part which contained "The 
Song of the Shirt " — that Thackeray appeared in his oX\-n 
right, as belonging not only to the Staff, but to the Table. 
The contribution was a " Singular Letter from the Regent 
of Spain ; " and with it Thackera}' took his place at the 
Dinner as an excellent substitute for Albert Smith. That 
writer, who had found his successor " a very jolly fellow 
with no High Art about him," and a chamiing companion 
at "the 'Cider Cellars," a month later disappeared for ever 
from Punch as a contributor, refigiuing only in its pages 
from time to time as an object of attack. 

Thackeray's work on Punch covered Qxexy corner of 
Punch's held. Burlesques of history and parodies of litera- 
ture, ballads and songs, stories and jokes, papers and para- 
graphs, pleasantr}' and pathos, criticisms and conundrums, 

3i6 The History of "Puxch." 

travels in the East and raillery in the West, political skits 
and social satire — from a column to a single line — such was 
the sum of Thackeray's contribution to Pioic/i. Less prolific 
than either Jerrold or Gilbert a Beckett, he produced, . never- 
theless, an enormous amount of "copy" that was always 
readable, even when it was not his best. He wrote from 
Paris to his friend, Mrs. Brookfield (September 2nd, 1849) : "I 
won't give you an historical disquisition in the Titmarsh 
manner upon this, but reserve it for Finich — for whom, on 
Thursdav [I have written] an article that I think is quite 
unexampled for dulness, even in that Journal, and that beats 
the dullest JeiTold. What a jaunty, offhand, satiric rogue 
I am, to be sure — and a gay young dog ! " But he did not 
think his work half so uninteresting as he pretended ; he 
even regarded with satisfaction that which he produced 
when gi-eatly out of the vein. "It is but a hasty letter 
I send you, my dear lady, " he wrote to the same coiTe- 
spondent, in 1850, "but my hand is weary with writing 
* Pendennis ' — and mv head boiling up with some nonsense 
that I must do after dinner for Pujich. Isn't it strange 
that, in the midst of all the selfishness; that of doing one's 
business is the strongest of all. What funny songs ^^■e 
WTitten when fit to hang myself!" 

His first contributions to Punch, after those already men- 
tioned, were "Mr. Spec's Remonstrance," Volume IV., p. 70 
(omitting "Assumption of Aristocracy," which has hitherto been 
credited to him, but was really sent in by Gilbert a Beckett), 
"Singular Letter from the Regent of Spain," with the three 
amusing cuts of sailors who; having found a bottle at sea, 
speculate as to its contents as they open it — " SheiTy, perhaps," 
/'Rum, I hope!" "Tracts, by Jove .'!" Then, to select the 
chief and longest series, came " The History of the Xe^:t French 
Revolution," in nine parts (Volume ^T.), contributions which 
were leavened by pleasant attacks levelled at Lytton, and at 
"Jenkins" of the " ^Morning Post." Then followed, in Volumes 
VII. and VIIL, "Travelling Notes, by our Fat Contributor " 
.(for Thackeray loved to call himself so, or " Our Stout Com- 
rnissioner," or "Titmarsh," "Policeman X," "Jeames," "Paul 

Jeames '5 Orthograph v. 3 1 7 

Pindar," or other whimsical pseudonym), and " Punch in the 
East" — the record of a journey undertaken by Thackeray at 
the invitation of the P. and O. Company, who offered him a 
free passage to Egypt. 

At this time the railwa}' mania was at its height, and 
Thackeray took his share' in Punch in stemming the fatal tide, 
so far as ridicule could be used to do so. One of his first 
papers on the subject was the " Letter from Jeames, of Buckly 
Square," signed by " Fitz-Jeames de la Pluche " — the famous 
Jeames who, first created by Thackeray in the pages of " The 
Britannia" in 1841, under the title of ''Mr. Yellowplush, my 
lord's body-servant," began in the same Vol. IX. (1845) his 
immortal " Diarv." One of the successes of this epistle was 
what, to Thackeray's delight, was seriously complained of as 
the "deplorable" inaccurate orthogi'aphy of the illiterate 
flunkev. Thackeray was certainly not the first to use the 
de\ice, but he was the first to achieve great success with it, 
and Arthur Sketchley, Artemus Ward, ]Mr. Deputy Bedford 
("Robert"), and all the American humorists who have' 
adopted the same idea, are but followers where the great 
Titmarsh led. Jeames's weakness became a strength in 
Thackeray's hands, and at one time was turned with effect upon 
Sir Isaac Pitman's " Spelling Refomi," which was then a novel 
butt for the satirist. The incident has been thus gravely re- 
corded in the pages of the "Phonetic Journal" :— 

" Ten years ago Mr. Punch had meni a meri kakinashon at the 
ekspens ov Mr. Pitman and the ' Phonetic News,' which he leiked 
tu kali the ' Fanatic Nuz.' Here is wun of his sneerz :— ' Voltaire 
sed ov the Inglish that they save two ourz a day bei kontrakting all 
their wurdz. The " Fonetic Xuz " woz not then in eksistens. If we- 
save two ourz," kontiniuz the kaustik pupet, ' in the dayz ov Vol- 
taire, we must save siks ourz at least nou that we hav our improved 
plan ov speling, az originali invented bei Winifred Jenkins, and 
karid to its greatest heit bei Jeames, with the assistans ov Yellow- 
plush and Pitman.' But Punch, who, leik the ' Thunderer,' never 
goez agenst publik opinion, sneerz no longer at the Speling Reform 
moovment, and sensibel men, who ar not fonetik men at all, admit 
at last that our prezent sistem ov orthograti is bei no meanz 

31 8 The History of ''Punch" 

There is little wonder that Thackeray seized on the comic 
side of this movement, for whimsical spelling always delighted 
him. On one occasion, indeed, he was so proud of an micom- 
promising cold that had " sat down" in his head that he wrote 
to a friend in these terms : — " Br. Lettsob ( attache to the 
Egglish Legatiob at Washigtol) has beel kild elough to probise 
to dile with be ol Bulday Icxt at 6 o'clock — if you would joil 
hib aid take a portiol of a plail joilt aid a puddl, it wd. give 
great pleasure." 

"The Snobs of England" began in the tenth volume, and 
continued through fifty-one numbers well into the twelfth. The 
effect of these papers was remarkable ; the sensation they 
caused was profound. It may be compared to that of JeiTold's 
" Caudle Lectures," save that they appealed to a more culti- 
vated and less demonstrative class, and were appreciated in 
proportion to their superior merits. The circulation of Punch 
rose surprisingly under their benign influence, and Thackeray 
did not leave the subject until he had handled it from every point 
of view and even carried it abroad. He was, naturally, not 
a little proud of his first great success, and in his unaffected 
manner was tempted to speak about it in Societ}- — where more 
than in anv other quarter the papers were appreciated. 
Unfortunately, according to Dr. Gordon Hake's memoirs, 
Thackeray broached the subject to George Borrow. He had 
been trving to make conversation with that strangely crotchety 
man, but had completely failed. So, being somewhat em- 
barrassed, he asked him abruptly, " Have you read my ' Snob 
Papers' in Punch /" Borrow seemed to thaw. " In Punch ?" 
he repeated sweetlv. " It is a periodical I never look at." This 
was as bad as the Oxford University magnate when Thackeray 
called upon him in 1857 in reference to his lecturing-tour and 
mentioned his connection with Pufich, the fame of which was 
great in the land, as a sort of certificate of character — " Pujich 
— Punch f" repeated the ignorant scholar, " is that not a ribald 
publication ? " Thackeray, I may add, in order to impart local 
colour to his chapters on the Club Snob, with characteristic 
shrewdness obtained an introduction fi-om Mr. Hampton, the 
secretary of the Conservative Club, to the Secretaries of the 

Snobs and Snobbery. 319 

Refomi and the Athenasiim, and begged their permission to 
inspect their complaint-books — a fact which has not before 
been recorded ; and from them he gained such an insight into 
the faihngs of the snobbish chibman, that that portion of the 
work is unsurpassed for its truth to hfe. It is generally 
understood that he took Mr. Stephen Price, of the GaiTick 
Club, as the model for Captain Shandy, and that his type of 
the sporting snob was Mr. Wyndham Smith. 

There is not much doubt that Thackeray was a little — if e\'er 
so little — of a snob himself, and Jerrold's suspicion of him was 
to that extent justified. He did not show it so much by going 
into Society, for, as he said to a friend, " If I don't go out and 
mingle in Society, I can't write" — just as Mr. du Maurier goes 
out in order to study his world, and as Leech rode to hounds 
for the sake of his health and work. But Thackeray, who was 
the writer of some of the most caustic articles on " Jenkins " 
— (under which name Punch habitually attacked the " Morning 
Post," the aristocratic airs of which were to him a perpetual 
provocation) — seemed to take a little more interest in Society 
than mere curiosity or policy required ; and was once thrown 
heavily in an encounter with the " Post's " reporter. Henry 
Vizetelly retells the story well in his '' Looking Back through 
Seventy Years " :— 

A favourite butt for Hannay's savage satire was Rumsey Forster 
—the Jenkins of the " Morning," or, as Hannay dubbed it, the 
"Fawning Post" — who had supplanted the ci-devant midshipman 
in the affections of some pretty barmaid at a London tavern which 
they both frequented. Forster was most energetic in his particular 
calling, and is said on one occasion to have obtained admission in 
the interests of the " Morning Post " to a Waterloo banquet at 
Apsley House, by getting himself up as one of the extra servants 
out of livery, called in to assist on these occasions. He was highly 
indignant with Thackeray for the way in which he persistently 
ridiculed him in Punch under the cognomen of Jenkins ; and I 
remember, after the author of "Vanity Fair" had become a 
celebrity, and began to be invited by other wearers of purple and 
fine linen, besides Lord Carlisle, to their aristocratic soirees, being 
highly amused by Forster telling me how he had taken his 

320 The History of "Puxch." 

'* You should know, sir," he said solemnly, " that at Stafford 
House, Lady Palmerston's, and the other swell places, a little table 
is set for me just outside the drawing-room doors, where I take down 
the names of the company as these are announced by the attendant 
footmen. Well, Mr. Thackeray was at the Marquis of Lansdowne's 
the other evening, and his name was called out, as is customary; 
nevertheless, I took very good care that it should not appear in the 
list of the company at Lansdowne House, given in the ' Post.' A 
night or two afterwards I was at Lord John Russell's, and Mr. 
Thackeray's name was again announced, and again I designedly 
neglected to write it down ; whereupon the author of ' The Snobs 
of England,' of all persons in the world [it must be candidly con- 
fessed that Thackeray was himself a bit of a tuft-hunter], bowed, 
and bending over me, said : 'Mr. Thackeray;' to which I replied : 
' Yes, sir, I am quite aware ; ' nevertheless, the great Mr. Thackeray's 
name did not appear in the ' Post ' the following morning.'' 

In another version of the same story it is recorded that 
when Thackeray pronounced his name to Rumsey Forster, 
the latter dramatically retorted, "And I, sir, am Mr. Jenkins" 
— an account far more artistic, if somewhat less faithful. 

After the "Snobs" were finished and the evergreen 
" Mahogany Tree," in Volume XIL, " Piaich's Prize Novel- 
ists" were begun in April, 1847. In their way these parodies 
have never been excelled, and the fourth of the series — 
"Phil Fogarty," by "Harry Rollicker " — was so excellent a 
burlesque that Charles Lever, on reading this story of the 
hero of "the fighting onety-oneth," good-humouredly declared 
that he "might as well shut up shop;" and he actually 
did change, thenceforward, the manner of his books. These 
" Prize Novels " continued into the following ^'olume, in 
which " Travels in London " were begun. These ran into 
Volume XR'., 1848, in which year their author received from 
Edinburgh a testimonial from eighty of his Scottish admirers. 
This took the shape of a silver inkstand in the fonn of 
Mr. Punch's person, and gi-eatly resembled that which a 
similar subscription had already procured for Mark Lemon. 
It drew from Thackera}- a charming letter in acknowledg- 
ment. Then followed " A Dinner at Timmins's " (Volumes 
XIV.-XV.) and "Bow Street Ballads" (Volume XV.), 1848, 

A Quaint Excuse. 321 

" Mr. Brown's Letters to a Man about Town " (Volume XVL), 
and "Mr. Brown's Letters to his Son" (Volume XVILj, 1849 ; 
"The Proser" (Volumes XVIIL-XIX.),' 1850, and " Lnportant 
from the Seat of War" (Volumes XXVL-XXVIL), 1854. 
These papers, with the exception of " Mr. Punch to an Eminent 
Personage" (Volume XXVIL, p. no) 
and " A Second Letter to an Eminent 
Personage" (Volume XXVIL, p. 113), 
were the last Thackeray ever wrote for 
Punch. The statement of his bio- 
graphers that in the year 1850, " If we 
except one later flicker in 1S54, 
Thackeray's long connection with 

Punch died out," is totally incoiTect, — ^/v7f_ WiT ^k^ 

for in 1 85 1 there are forty-one '^ 
literar}' items and a dozen cuts to his 

Tj. " -T) 4- -C 4.1 „i- i-- i.•^ O INKSTAND PRESENTED TO 

credit. But from that tmie until i8s4 


he only contributed " The Organ Boy's burgh admirers. 

Appeal" (Volume XXV., p. 144), and 

thenceforward we hear no more of "Policeman X," of Malonev 

and his Irish humour, of the Frenchman on whom, in spite 

of himself, he was always so severe, no more of Jeames, 

Jenkins, or the rest of the puppets who lived for us under his 


The labour of producing his Punch work was often irksome 
to him in the extreme, and many a time would he put Mark 
Lemon off — now, because he was so well in the swim with his 
novel then in hand that he begged hard to be let off, and 
again, because the Muse was coy and would not on any account 
be wooed. On one occasion he wrote explaining with what 
weariness he had been battening rhymes for three hours in 
his head, and could get nothing out : " I must beg }-ou to 
excuse me," he ingeniously added, " for I've worked just as 
much for -s'ou as though I had done something." At other 

* The inclusion of the article entitled " A Plea for Plush," in the volume 
of "Contributions to Punch" in "Complete Works," published by Smith, 
Elder & Co., is a mistake. The article in question was by Thackeray's friend, 
" Jacob Omnium." 


322 The History of " Punch T 

times he would break away from the company he was in, 
in order to complete his regulation number of columns. His 
godson, afterwards the Rev. Francis Thackeray, has told us 
how the great man once took him to a conjuring entertain- 
ment and, having secured him a good place, explained " Now, 
I must leave you awhile, and go and make a five-pound note." 
And in such a manner, in haste and with disinclination, was 
often produced what James Hannay calls '' the inimitable, wise, 
easy, playful, worldly, social sketch of Thackeray." 

Although, as a rule, Thackeray prefen-ed social to political 
satire, he would sometimes point an epigram with sharp 
effect. For example, in 1845, the disclosure in the " Freeman " 
of J. Young's letter, to the discomfiture of the Whigs and Lord 
Melbourne, suggested to Thackeray the line : " Young's Night 
Thought — Wish I hadn't franked that letter ! " Its appearance 
in Punch caused Mr. Sparkes to buttonhole the writer at the 
Reform Club, and excitedly dilate on the mischief that was 
being done to the Party by such very public and sarcastic ' 
means. Thackeray burst out laughing — ''the mountain shook," 
says the historian — but felt a little genuine pleasure at the 
circumstance all the same. 

As success and public recognition came to him for his 
novels — the success for which he had worked so hard — his 
disinclination to work for Punch increased. No doubt the 
policy of the paper had something to do with it ; but there 
can be little question that the great fame and reward he 
derived from novel writing made more occasional work dis- 
tasteful to him, and in 1854 — the year of "The Newcomes " 
— Thackeray corrected his last proof for Punch. He had 
foreseen it for some time, for in 1849 he had wTitten to Mrs. 
Brookfield fi-om Paris, "What brought me to this place ? 
Well, I am glad I came ; it will give me a subject for at 
least six weeks in Punch" ["Paris Revisited," &c.], "of 
which I was getting so weary that I thought I must have 
done with it." Five years afterwards he wrote to the same 
lady : " What do you think I have done to-day ? I have 
sent in my resignation to Punch. There appears in next 
Punch an article so wicked, I think, by poor [ ? Jerrold] 

Tha ckera ys R f.sigxa rioN. 323 

that upon my word I don't think I ought to pull any longer 
in the same boat with such a savage little Robespien^e. The 
appearance of this incendiary article put me in such a rage 
that I could only cool m3'self with a ride in the park." 
Writing a long while afterwards for the public eve, he said, 
" Another member of Punch's Cabinet, the biographer of 
Jeames, the author of the ' Snob papers,' resigned his functions 
on account of Mr. Punch's assaults upon the present Emperor 
of the French nation, whose anger he thought it was un- 
patriotic to arouse " — being thus in Punchian policy, if not in 
motive, in entire accord with Mr. Ruskin. 

A more complete and emphatic statement of the facts, as 
Thackeray viewed them, will be found in the subjoined 
letter from the novelist to one of the Punch proprietors, which, 
bv their courtesy, is here printed for the first time : — 

."March 24th, 1855. 

" 36, Onslow Sqre. 

" My Dear Evans, 

"I find a note of yours dated Feb. 5, in wh. F, M. E.* 
states that my account shall be prepared directly. F. M. E. has 
a great deal to do and pay and think of, but W. M. T. has also 
his engagements. 

"I hope your 'Poetry of Punch' will not be published before 
my collected Ballads— Now remember (you wrote me a letter 
expressly on the subject) that the Cop^-right of all articles in 
' Punch ' were mine, by stipulation — and my book would be very 
much hurt by the appearance of another containing f of its contents. 

" I met Murray the publisher the other day, and cannot help 
fancying from his manner to me that there is a screw loose with 
him too about that unlucky Leech article. Lemon, answering 
one of my letters, said that he personally complained that my 
account of leaving ' Punch ' was not correct. 

" There was such a row at the time, and I was so annoyed at 
the wrong that I had done, that I thought I had best leave Lemon's 
remonstrance for a while and right it on some future occasion. 
I recall now to you and beg you to show to him and to any 
other persons who may have received a different version of the 
story — what the facts were. I had had some serious public 

* Mr. Frederick Mullet Evans. 

V 2 

324 The History of "Punch." 

differences with the Conduct of ' Punch ' — about the abuse of Prince 
Albert and the Chrystal \_stc'] Palace at wh. I very nearly resigned, 
about abuse of Lord Palmerston, about abuse finally of L. Napoleon 
— in all which ' Punch ' followed the ' Times,' wh. I think and 
thought was writing unjustly at that time, and dangerously for 
the welfare and peace of the Country. 

" Coming from Edinburgh I bought a ' Punch ' containing the 
picture of a Beggar on Horseback, in wh. the Emperor was repre- 
sented galloping to hell v\'ith a sword reeking with blood. As 
soon as ever I could after my return (a day or 2 days after), I 
went to Bouverie St., saw 3-ou and gave in my resignation. 

" I mention this because I know the cause of my resignation 
has been questioned at ' Punch ' — because this was the cause of it. 
I talked it over with 3-ou in, and Leech saw me coming out of 
your room, and I told him of m}- retirement. 

" No engagement afterwards took place between us ; nor have 
I ever been since a member of ' Punch's ' Cabinet, so to speak. 
Wishing you all heartily well, I wrote a few occasional papers 
last year— and not liking the rate of remuneration, wh. was less 
than that to wh. I had been accustomed in my time, I wrote no 

" And you can say for me as a reason why I should feel hurt 
at your changing the old rates of pa3'ment made to me — that I 
am not a man who quarrels about a guinea or two except as a 
point of honour ; and that when I could have had a much larger 
svnii than that wh. you gave me for my last novel — I preferred 
to remain with old friends, who had acted honourably and kindly 
by me. 

" I reproach myself with having written ^ a line regarding ni}' 
old ' Punch ' Companions — which was perfectly true, wh. I have 
often said — but which I ought not to have written. No other 
wrong that I know of have I done. And I think it is now about 
time that my old friends and publishers should set me right. 

" Yours ver}- faithfuU}-, dear Evans, 

" W. M. Thackeray. 
" F. M. Evans, Esq." 

Yet, though he resigned, he would still from time to time 
attend the Dinners, at which he was always made welcome 
by the publishers and his late colleagues. \Yhen, dm-ing this 
period, he was pleading for assistance for the family of one of 

(^Froiu Portion oj a Painting by E. M. Ward, R.A., in the Possession nf Richard Hurst, Esq.) 

326 The History of "Punch':' 

the Staff who had passed awa}', he took pleasure in admitting 
that — " It is through my connection with Punch that I owe 
the good chances that have lately befallen me, and have had 
so many kind offers of help in my own days of trouble that 
I would thankfully aid a friend whom death has called away." 
So, although he was no longer to be identified with the paper, 
Thackeray — " the gixat Thackeray " he had become — was 
bound to it and to several members of the Staff by ties of 
intimate affection, and his sudden death came with stunning 
force upon them all. To Leech it was as his own death- 
knell ; and when he, Mark Lemon, Shirley Brooks, Tom 
Taylor, Horace Mayhew, " Jacob Omnium," and John Tenniel 
stood round his gra^-e, they felt, I have been told, as if the 
glory of Punch had been irremediably dimmed. No verses 
e^'er penned bv Punch's poets to the memory of one of 
their dead brethren ever breathed more love or more beauty 
of thought than those in which Thackeray was mourned, 
and defended against the charge of cynicism — " . . a brave, 
true, honest gentleman, whom no pen but his own could 
depict as those who knew him could desire" : — 

" He was a cynic : By his life all wrought 

Of generous acts, mild words, and gentle ways ; 
His heart wide open to all kindly thought, 

His hand so quick to give, his tongue to praise. 

" And if his acts, affections, works, and ways , 
Stamp not upon the man the cynic's sneer, 
From life to death, oh, public, turn your gaze — 
The last scene of a cynical career ! 

" Those uninvited crowds, this hush that lies, 
Unbroken, till the solemn words of prayer 
From many hundred reverent voices rise 
Into the sunny stillness of the air. 

" These tears, in eyes but little used to tears. 

Those sobs, from manly lips, hard set and grim. 
Of friends, to whom his life lay bare for 3-ears, 
Of strangers, who but knew his books, not him." 



PUNCH'S writers: 1843-51. 

Horace Mayhew— '• The Wicked Old Marquis" — A Birthday Ode— R. B. 
Peake — Thomas Hood — "The Song of the Shirt" — Its Origin — Its Effect 
in the Country — Its Authorship Claimed by Others — Translated throughout 
Europe — A Missing Verse — Hood Compared with Jerrold — "Reflections on 
New Years Day'' — Dr. E. V. Kenealy — J. W. Ferguson — Charles Lever — 
Laman Blanchard — Tom Taylor — Passed over by Shirley Brooks — Taylor's 
Critics — Mr. Coventry Patmore — " Jacob Omnium '' — Tennyson v. Bulwer 
Lytton — Horace Smith — "Rob Roy " Macgregor — Mr. Henry Silver — Intro- 
duces Charles Keene — His Literary Work — Service to Leech — Retirement 
— Mr. Sutherland Edwards — Charles Dickens and Punch — Sothern Earns 
his Dinner — Reconciliation of Dickens and iSIark Lemon — J. L. Hannay 
— Cuthbert Bede. 

Punch had been running about eight 
months when, in Wills's words, " a hand- 
some young student returned from Ger- 
many and was heartily welcomed by 
his brother, Mr. Henry Mavhew, and 
then by the rest of the fraternity. This 
was at the particular Punch meeting 
at which Mr. Hamerton was present. 
Horace Mayhew' s diploma joke consisted, 
I believe, of " Questions addressees au 
grand concours aux eleves d' Anglais, du 
College St. Badaud dans le Departement 
de la Haute Cockaigne" (Vol. HI. p. 89). Regular occupa- 
tion was forthwith found for him as sub-editor, his duties being 
to collect the cuts from the artists, to act as medium of com- 
munication between the writers and draughtsmen, and to 
assist Mark Lemon in making-up the paper ; and for these 
services he received one pound a week. Soon, however, it 
was found that the editor could very well perform all such 
duties for himself, and the post of "pony" was abolished. 
Horace — or "Ponny," as he was invariably nick-named — 


{From a Photograph by 

328 The History of ''Punch." 

became one of the accepted writers. He was most prolific as 
a suggestor, and never failed of point and pith in his own 
numerous little paragraphs. As a proposer he had much of 
the talent of his brother, but little of his genius. " The Life 
and Adventures of Miss Robinson Crusoe," written by Douglas 
Jen-old, was " Ponn3''s " suggestion ; but he carried out his con- 
ceptions entirel}' in such papers as his extremel}' amusing 
"Model Men," "Model Women," and "Model Couples;" 
and his " Change for a Shilling " and " Letters left at a 
Pastrycook's" are still remembered. 

"Ponny" had not a seat "in the Cabinet" until January 
nth, 1845, before which time he had no separate existence as 
a contributor, all his "copy" being entered indiscriminately 
to the Editor. For a long while his average contribution was 
thirty-one columns in each volume ; but his main value lay 
in the short articles and paragraphs of a playfiil and whimsical 
character. Thus, when the " Birmingham Advertiser" declared 
with grovelling snobbishness that " in these days it is quite re- 
freshing to pronounce the name of the Duke of Newcastle," 
" Ponny " suggested that during the summer months " the name 
of his Grace should be written up in every public thoroughfare." 
He was, in tact, in the words of an old friend, " bright, good- 
natured, and lively, not very clever, but always letting off little 
jokes ; " "a social butterfly," adds Mr. Sala, " who never 
fulfilled the promise of his youth." 

He was a strikingly good-looking man, and was justifiably 
proud of Thackeray's greeting as they met at Evans's — " Ah, 
here comes Colonel Newcome ! " " From his aristocratic mien 
and premature baldness," says Vizetelly, " Wiltshire Austin 
christened him ' the wicked old Marquis.' The keeping of late 
hours was Ponny Mayhew's bane. For a quarter of a century 
— save an annual fortnight devoted to recruiting himself at Scar- 
borough or elsewhere — he scorned to seek repose before the milk- 
man started on his rounds, and during the greater portion of the 
year never thought of rising until the sun had set, when he would 
emerge from his Bond Street rooms as spruce and gay as a lark." 
He had been engaged to a daughter of Douglas Jerrold (whose 
other daughter, it will be remembered, was the wife of Henry 

Horace (^' Poxxy") AIayhew. 329 

Mayhew), but on tlie gi-ound that "one Mayhew is enough 
in the family," Jerrold would not hear of it, and the young 
people remained faithful to each other to the end. Living first 
with Joseph Swain, the engraver, he afterwards took up his 
residence for a time with the Lemons at King's Road, Chelsea. 
" Ponny's " portrait, it has often been said, may be seen in 
the White Knight in "Alice in Wonderland;" but "the re- 
semblance," says Sir John Tenniel, " was purely accidental, 
a mere unintentional caricature, which his friends, of course, 
were only too delighted to make the most of. P. ^L was 
certainly handsome, whereas the White Knight can scarcely 
be considered a type of ' manly beauty.' " He was a great 
favourite with the Staff, by reason of his many charming 
qualities. What they thought of him may be in a measure 
deduced ft-om one or two of the verses borrowed from Shirley 
Brooks' Birthday Ode, here reproduced from Mr. Hatton's 
"True Story" in "London Society" : — 

" Is he perfect ? Why, no, that is hardly the case ; 
If he were, the Punch Table would not be his place ; 
You all have your faults — I confess one or two — 
And we love him the better for having a few. 

'' He never did murder, like — never mind whom, 
Nor poisoned relations, like — some in this room ; 
Nor deceived the young ladies, like— men whom I see, 
Nor even intrigued with a gosling, like — me. 

" No ; black are our bosoms, and red are our hands. 
But a model of virtue our Ponniboy stands ; 
And his basest detractors can only say this, 
That he's fond of the cup, and the card, and the kiss. 

"A warm-hearted fellow — a faithful ally, 
Our Bloater's* Vice-Regent o'er Punch'' s gone bv ; 
He's as true to the flag of the White Friars still 
As when he did service with Jerrold and Gil. 

"Here's his health in a bumper! " Old''' Ponny — a fib ; 
What's fiftv ? A babv. Bring tucker and bib. 
Add twenty ; then ask us again, little boy, 
And till then may 3'our life be all pleasure and joy ! " 

* Mark Lemon. 

330 The History of '■ Prxc//" 

"Ponnv" Mavhew, who did not actuidly write anything for 
some rears before his end, died in ^lay. 1872 ; and on p. 191 of 
the sixtv-second volume a graceful obituary notice" pays tribute 
to his long and faithful service and his gentle good-nature. 

Bv this time Punch's established reputation brought a great 
number of anon}*mous contributions, only a ver}- few of which 
were ever used, and of fewer still was the authorship placed 
upon record. Early in 1S43, however (p. 82. Vol. IV.), 'Sir. 
Blackwood, of Edinburgh, sent in one of the earliest of Scottish 
witticisms, a conundrum ; Joseph O'Leary, a reporter of the 
" ^loniing Herald," is said to have contributed a poem on " The 
English Vandal ; ' and R. B. Peake, who had adapted " A Xight 
^^^th Punch " for W. 1. Hammond, besfan his little series of 

1 •Punch's ^ro^"incial Intelligence," of 

^g/b^ which the most notable is a humorous 

W \ report of the University Boatrace of the 

w^ vear ; and then the elder Hood began 

his short but brilliant career. 

Thomas Hood had forgiven and for- 
gotten the annoyance he had felt on 
seeing in the lirst number of Punch a 
bogus advertisement ascribed to him 
under the title of " Lessons in Punman- 
THOMAs HOOD. ship," at which he " could only express 

From an Engrax-iH^ by li^'. Hou, his auiazemeut that liis name should be 
af^crtluPai« paraded with apparent authority in a 

paper of the verA^ existence of which he was not aware ; "" and 
Avithin two years he became a fairly constant contributor, after 
writing to Dickens, " You will be glad to hear that I have made 
an arrangement with Bradburs^ to contribute to Punch, but that 
is a secret I cannot keep from you. It ^^"ill be light occasional 
work for odd times." So he began vdth a sketch redrawn by 
H. G. Hine, accompanying a " Police Report of a Daring 
Robberv bv a Xoble Lord " — the first of his stinsinsf attacks on 
Lord William Lennox, one of Punch's favourite and, it must be 
admitted, legitimate butts. Then followed at difterent times 
a score or more of conundrums in the true Hoodian vein under 
the title of ** Whys and ^^^lens," fair specimens of which are 

Thomas Hood is Recruited. 331 

these : " Why is killing bees like a confession ? Because vou 
unbuzz 'em." " Why is * yes ' the most ignorant word in the 
language ? Because it doesn't no annhing." " What's the 
difference between a soldier and a bomb-shell ? One goes 
to wars, the other goes to peaces." "When is a clock on 
the stairs dangerous ? When it runs down." A couple of 
sketches and "A Drop of Gin," an important poem of 
seventy-six lines somewhat in the manner of the latter por- 
tion of "Miss Kilmansegg" were followed — enclosed ^^^thin 
a comic border ! — by his greatest popular effort, " The Song 
of the Shirt." This appeared, not in the "Almanac," but in 
the "Christmas Number," on p. 261 of the second volume 
for 1843. 

The particular incident by which this immortal poem was 
suggested was one which had called forth a powerful leading- 
article in the " Times." It was the " terrible fact " that a 
woman named Bidell, with a squalid, half-stan-ed infant at the 
breast, was " charged at the Lambeth police-court with pa\\Ti- 
ing her master's goods, for which she had to give £2 security. 
Her husband had died by an accident, and had left her with 
two children to support, and she obtained by her needle for 
the maintenance of herself and family what her master called 
the 'good li%ing' of seven shillings a iveekr 

Punch was at once aglow with red-hot indignation, and in 
an article entitled " Famine and Fashion ! " proposed an ad- 
vertisement such as this for the firm that employed her — 

"Holland coats from two-and-three are shown 
By Hunger's haggard fingers neatl}- sewn. 
Embroidered hemes for 3-our infant made, — 
The ej'es are sightless now that worked the braid ; 
Rich vests of velvet at this mart appear. 
Each one bedimm'd by some poor widow's tear ; 
And riding habits formed for maid or wife, 
All cheap — aye, ladies, cheap as pauper-life. 
For mourning suits this is the fitting mart. 
For ever}- garment help'd to break a heart.'' 

The subject touched Hood more powerfullv perhaps than 
others, for his nature was essentially grave and sympathetic. 

^^2 The History of "Punch" 

As he himself had said, it was only for his livelihood that he 
was a livelv Hood — although he was always brimming over 
with comicalities ; and he never felt more deeply the dignity of 
his profession and his own force and weight than when he was 
engaged on serious work. So Hood conjured up his "Song of 
the Shirt," moved by the revelations of poor seamstresses who 
received, as it appeared, five farthings a shirt, out of which sum 
they had to find their own needles ! Mark Lemon told ]Mr. 
Joseph Hatton that Hood had " accompanied the poem with 
a few lines in which he expressed the fear that it was hardly 
suitable for Pinich, and leaiing it between his discretion and the 
waste-paper basket." It had, said Hood, already been rejected 
by three papers, and he was sick of the sight of it. ]Mark 
Lemon brought the poem up at the Table, where the majority 
of the Staff protested against its inclusion in a comic paper. 
But Lemon was deteniiined ; and, after all, was it not for 
a Christmas number that he destined it — a number in which 
something serious, pathetic, with a note of pitv and love, 
was surely not out of place ? 

The effect on its publication was tremendous. The poem 
went through the land like wild-fire. Xearlv every paper 
quoted it, headed by the " Times ; " it was the talk of the 
hour, the talk of the countr}'. It went straight to John 
Bull's kind, bourgeois, sympathetic heart, just as Carlyle de- 
clared that Ruskin's truths had "pierced like arrows " into his. 
The authorship, too, was ^^gorously canvassed with intense 
interest. Dickens, with that keen insight and critical faculty 
which had enabled him almost alone among literarv experts 
to detect the sex of George Eliot, then an unknown writer 
(though doubtless he was helped in the case I now speak of by 
Hood's letter to him just quoted), was one of the few who at 
once named the writer of the verses. And it was well for 
Hood that he had proof positive of the authorship, for one of 
the most curious things connected with the poem was the 
number of persons who had the incomprehensible audacity to 
claim it. One young gentleman was mentioned by name, 
either by his friends or himself, and I find a letter in a volume 
of newspaper cuttings to this effect : " I have just read, to my 

" The of the ShirtT 333 

great surprise, the announcement in your paper that Mr. Hood 
wrote ' The Song of the Shirt/ because / hioie positively that 
what I before stated to you is the fact." So hard pressed, 
indeed, was Hood, that he wrote a pri\ate letter in Februan,', 
1845, in the following terms : — 

'' As I have publicly acknowledged the authorship of the ' Song 
of the Shirt,' I can have no objection to satisfy you privately on 
the subject. M}- old friends Bradbur}- and Evans, the proprietors 
of Punchy could show you the document conclusive on the subject. 
But I trust my authority will be sufficient, especially as it comes 
from a man on his death-bed^ 

Had these literary ^•ultures had their way. Hood would have 
been brazened out of his verses altogether. 

Punch shared handsomely in the glory of the poet, and its 
circulation tripled on the strength of it. And ]Mrs. Hood, 
poor soul, triumphed in her prophecy ; for had she not said, 
and maintained in spite of each successive rejection from 
foolish editors — " Xow mind. Hood, mark my words : this 
will tell wonderfully I It is one of the best things vou ever 

And so this song, which, in spite of its defects, still thrills 
you as you read, achieved such a popularity that for sudden and 
enthusiastic applause its reception has rarely been equalled. It 
was soon translated into eveiy language of Europe — (Hood used 
to laugh as he wondered how the^- would render " Seam and 
gusset and band," into Dutch ) ; it was printed and sold as catch- 
pennies, printed on cotton pocket-handkerchiefs, it was illus- 
trated and parodied in a thousand ways ; and the greatest 
triumph of all, which brought tears of joy to Hood's eyes, 
before a week was out a poor beggar-woman came singing it 
down the street, the words set to a simple air of her own. The 
greatest delight of Hood — " the darling of the English heart," 
as he was called, who was literally dying when he wrote the 
song, and so fulfilled the sole condition which Jerrold said was 
all that was needed to make him famous — was the conviction 
that the interest which the nation was taking in his lines 
would turn to the real advantage of those in whose cause he 
pleaded. He felt that he had touched not only the nation's 

34 The History of ''Punch." 

heart but the nation's conscience, and he deeply appreciated 
Kenny Meadows' and Leech's efforts in the same direction, 
such as are to be seen in the cartoons of " Pin Money, Needle 
Money," and many more besides. 

Speaking of the *' Song of the Shirt," which brought letters 
to Punch from every part of the globe, Mr. Ruskin declares it 
the most impressive example of the most perfect manifestation 
of the temper of the caricaturist, the highest development of 
which is to be found in Hood's poetry ; and he compares it to 
Leech's " General Fe\Tier turned Traitor." There certainly can 
be no doubt that its force is amazingly assisted by its plainness 
and simplicity of language. 

It is a curious fact that one verse of the poeni was not 
printed by Mark Lemon, although it appeared in the original 
manuscript ; nor is it included in the reprinted " Works." I 
imagine that its omission was simply a matter of make-up, as 
it would be hard to compress the poem into the space allotted 
to it, without using a much smaller type than was usual in 
Punch ; and an odd number of verses is a serious matter for 
a sub-editor to wrestle with when he has to arrange a poem 
into double columns of a given depth. The missing verse, 
which, to do Mark Lemon justice, is the one most easily 
spared, nms as follows : — 

" Seam, and gusset, and band, 
Band, and gusset, and seam, 
Work, work, work, 
Like an Engine that works by Steam ! 
A mere machine of iron and wood, 
That toils for Mammon's sake, 
Without a brain to ponder and craze, 
Or a heart to feel — and break ! " 

In the same number that contained the " Song of the Shirt " 
was another impressive poem by Hood, " The Pauper's Christ- 
mas Carol," in seven stanzas ; but it was entirely overshadowed 
and eclipsed by its fellow-song, so that it lay, as it has done 
for the most part since, almost unknown, unhonoured, and 
unsung. Yet it was as ringing and true as any of Jerrold's 

Hood's Humour. 335 

most stirring efforts in his championship of the poor. But 
the two friends were essentially different in their treatment 
and methods. Hood's satire was never personal, as Jerrold's 
was ; and, unlike Jerrold, Hood would never tolerate the 
idea, much less practise it, of placing "■ a wide moral gulf 
between Rich and Poor, with Hate on one side and Fear 
on the other." He sought to help the poor by awakening 
the love and sympathy of Society, and for that reason he 
selected his epitaph in reference to his poem, for he would 
never have chosen this as technically his finest work. He 
was altogether out of harmony with Jerrold's policy of 
stinging the rich into charity and justice by biting satire 
and illogical sarcasm, warm-hearted and well-meant though it 

At this time Hood was fast approaching his end ; and he 
wrote for Punch on his death-bed. Though still young, he 
was becoming more and more afflicted with physical ail- 
ments. Amongst other troubles, he was getting stone deaf, 
he said ; but consoled himself with the reflection that his 
friend Charles Landseer was two stone deafer. And all the 
while his rollicking fun, and quaintly sudden turn of word 
and idea were transporting his readers, as he somewhere 
says, "from Dull-age to Grin-age." His humour was effer- 
vescent, continuous, and effortless — not like Jerrold's wit, 
intermittent flashes called up at need — but overflowing in a 
rich stream of joke, pun, hit, crank, and quip, covering a field 
far wider than Jerrold's, and more genial. 

The next contribution was his poem ''The Drama," apropos 
of the State trials in Ireland, and the Fair ]Maid of Perth, 
with allusion to the Fighting Smith in either case — a poem 
of 108 lines. Then followed " Reflections on New Year's 
Day" (January 6th, 1844), from which a couple of specimen 
verses may well be quoted :— 

" Yes, yes, it's ver}' true and ver}- clear I 

By way of compliment and common chat, 
It's very well to wish me a New Year ; 
But wish me a New Hat. 

336 The History of ''Punch." 

" Oh, yes, 'tis very pleasant, though I'm poor. 
To hear the steeple make that merry din ; 
Except I wish one bell were at the door 
To ring new trowsers in." 

After a cokimn on "The Awftil State of Ireland" Hood 
was, on the 3rd of March, 1844, editorially reckoned on the 
Staff. But the decree of Fate was against him, and he only 
contributed two more pieces altogether. Punch, as he 
acknowledged, was the one bright meteor that had flashed 
across his mi4k-and-waterv way in his latter years, and rave 
him, together with Sir Robert Peel's tactful and charming 
bestowal of a pension, his last delight. But already death, 
he said, had thrown open wide its door to him, and he was 
"so near to it that he could almost hear the hins:es creak." 
And when he died, there were engraved upon his tombstone, 
at his own desire, the simple words, " He Sang the Song of 
the Shirt." 

The first arrival of 1844 was Dr. Edward A'aughan Kenealy, 
who, many years after, acted for and defended the historic 
"Claimant," the self-confessed OtX.o\^, alias Castro, alias "Sir 
Roger Tichborne," with so much violent ability, lost his 
balance and came to utter grief. In his )'0uth one of his 
scholarly relaxations was to translate English verse of yarious 
sorts into various languages — Greek, Hebrew, Arabic, Hindus- 
tani, and the like, for he was a remarkable linguist. His unique 
Punch contribution was the rendering of " The King of the 
Cannibal Islands" into Greek, and yery good Greek too. The 
jeu d' esprit is to be found on p. 79, ^'olume VL, as well as in his 
volume of verse dedicated to Lord Chief Justice Cockburn, 
whom he was destined afterwards to waste his life in vilify- 
ing, while shattering his own career in his savage and in- 
effective assaults. • 

In the following month T. J. Serle struck up an ephemeral 
connection. He had been ]\Iacready's secretary, and acting 
manager of Drury Lane, and had written "The Shadow on 
the Wall," and other successful plays ; and JeiTold's eldest 
son was named Thomas Serle, after him. His first paper was 

Ferguson, Lever, Lam an Blanchard. 337 

" A Fine Lady," on the loth of ]\Iarch ; but after one further 
contribution, two months later, he appeared no more. About 
the same time there was printed " The Magnitia," by Frank 
Moir (May 3rd, Xo. 199). 

J. W. Ferguson was a far more important and more useful 
contributor, whose work was full of talent, whose versifica- 
tion was clever and pointed, and whose topical " Punch's 
Fairy Tales " (with obtrusively obvious morals) are models 
of their kind. His " Little Frenchman's First Lesson " 
(May 1 8th, 1844) purports to be a translation of a French 
poem with which patriots are supposed to implant hatred 
of England in the minds and hearts of their children — the 
refi^ain being '' Car ce sont la des perfides Albionnais ! " — and 
the "Second Lesson," which replies to a French attack, were 
important efforts. His "La3'S of the Amphitheatre ( Royal j, 
by T. B. ^NLacaulay, " " Cymon and Iphigeneia," and similar 
contributions justified his inclusion in the Staff (April, 1845) ; 
but after the autumn of 1846, by which time he was repre- 
sented by a score of columns, he disappeared from Pmirh's 

A letter from Charles Lever (6th June, 1844), under the 
title of "A Famihar Epistle," and over the signature " Archy 
Delany," for a moment brought that distinguished novelist 
into contact with Thackeray — a circumstance that was not 
forgotten by either writer, when the latter paid his rather 
stiff Dublin visit some time afterwards to the " Harry 
Rolhcker " whom he so brilliantly parodied in his "Prize 
Novelists." Then Mr. \V. P. Bull, of Xuneaton, sent in 
half a column of mock-heroic verse — "A Soliloquy" — which 
purported to be the commencement of a scene from an 
unpublished drama entitled "The Chemist," a contribution of 
which Lemon thought very highly. Xo further items, how- 
ever, came from that quarter. 

Three recruits appeared with the month of October. A 
writer named Jackson forwarded a couple of pieces ( " Irish 
Intelligence" and "The Polka Pest"— the latter well de- 
scribing the craze with which the new dance inoculated tlie 
whole country) ; and then Laman Blanchard, Jerrold's life-long^ 


The History of "Punch." 

friend and fellow-worker from the beginning, made a debut 
that was almost coincident with his death. His " Royal 
Civic Function " showed what a hand had been lost to 
Punch ; but it was his delightful " New Year's Ode : To the 
Winner of the St. Xisbett — Season, 1844," that was the best 
of his rare contributions. It was at once an elegy of INIrs. 
Nisbett, and a prayer and prophecy that she might again 
be seen on the boards. The last verse runs : — 

" Who weds a mere beauty, dooms dozens to grieve ; 

Who marries an heiress, leaves hundreds undone ; 
Who bears off an actress (she never took leave), 

Deprives a whole city of rational fun. 
But farewell the glances and nods of St. Nisbett ; 

We list for her short ringing laughter in vain, 
And yet — bereaved London ! — What think 3'ou of this bet? 

A hundred to one we shall see her again I " 

The prophecy was only partly fulfilled ; Mrs. Xisbett was 
certainly seen again upon the stage, but Blanchard was not 
there to enjoy the sight. He died within the same . year, 
to the passionate gi'ief of Douglas JeiTold. 

The last and most important acces- 
sion of the year was Tom Taylor, for 
six-and-thirtv years a Staff officer of 
Punch, and for the last six of them 
commander-in-chief. He was twenty- 
seven years old when he sent in his 
first ' two contributions — ^^ Punch to 
Messieurs les Redacteurs of the French 
Press" and "Startling and most Im- 
portant Intelligence" (October 19th, 
1844). According to John Timbs, 
" Landells in one of his artistic visits 
to Cambridge met with Mr. T. Taylor, 
who, having completed his University studies, came to 
London to embark in the profession of letters, his first con- 
tribution being to Douglas Jerrold's ' Illuminated Magazine,' " 
just at the time when Landells ceased his connection. Bristed, 


{From a Photograph by 

Tom Ta ylor's Work. 


in his record of English University hfe, foretold ot " Triuns," 
generally accepted as a literary portrait of Taylor, " perhaps 
he will be a nominal barrister and an actual writer for Punch 
and the magazines. Perhaps he will go quite mad and write 
a tragedy:" a capital example of a prophecy after the event, 
so far as it goes — for "Five Years" was published in 1851. 

Tom Taylor prided 
himself on the classic 
verve of his prose and 
verse, and undoul^t- 
edly assisted in main- 
taining Punch's liter- 
ary standard. His 
work for the paper 
went on increasing — 
from six columns in 
Vol. VII., to forty-two 
in Vol. XIII. — and 
soon won him his seat 
at the Table. For a 
long while, however, 
he did not shine as a 
cartoon-suggestor, the first being " Peel's Farewell " (July 14th, 
1849), and the second in the following May, the extremely 
happy burlesque on the picture in the National Gallery — 
" Leeds ]\Iercury instructing Young England." As time went on 
and he became known as a writer of taste and versatility, as 
a dramatist and adaptor of pla}s, i:^'rench and English; art 
critic of the " Times ; " artist biographer ; and Civil Servant 
(he attained to the secretaryship of the Local Government 
Board), the weight of his increasing responsibility and influence 
seemed to get into what should have been his humorous work. 
To counteract it, Thackeray, up to the time of his resignation, 
struggled to maintain the spirit of jollity and the lightness of 
touch which had formerh' been Punch's true note. But in 
1874, when Shirley Brooks died, Tom Taylor, who had been 
identified with the paper ten 3^ears before Brooks had joined it, 
was promoted, as by right of service, to the supreme command, 
w 2 


(Drawn by R. Doyle.') 

340 The History of "-Punch" 

It cannot be said that his editorship was a success. His 
fun was too scholarly and well-ordered, too veiled, deliberate, 
and ponderous ; and under him Punch touched its lowest 
point of popularity. 

" In humour slow, though sharp and keen his mind ; 
His hand was heavy, though his heart was kind." 

His popularity among the outsiders was great, as I have 
learnt from man}^ of his old contributors ; for he loved to 
extend his hospitality to young men at his house, Lavender 
Sweep, at Wandsworth, and to send kindh' notes of encour- 
agement and promises of future help. Nevertheless, he was 
ever the butt of rival publications. In one of them a car- 
toon, entitled *' An Editor Abroad," was published, showing 
Mr. Burnand and Mr. du Maurier helping him and his Punch 
Show out of the mud in which he had stuck ; in another 
he was represented as " The Trumpet Blower ; " while in an 
article in "The Mask" (April, i86S), before he had assumed 
his sway, Mr. Punch is supposed to point to " Mark Lemon's 
Triumphal Car" and, referring to Taylor, to say: "He is 
our seraph. . . . His adaptations, I assure you, are delight- 
ful. You must be well up in Michel Lev3''s repertoire to find 
him out. He is so very artful." 

A peculiar feature of Tom Taylor's editorship was the 
hieroglyphical character of his handwriting. His missives 
of instructions to artists and writers came as a terror to the 
receivers, who could make little ofthem. " ]\Ir. Tom Taylor's 
letters," Mr. Swain informs me, " were often very difficult 
to decipher. His writing was peculiar, and he would also 
continue the letter if necessary in an}^ odd corner that was 
vacant. I remember his writing some instructions to an artist 
one day in this fashion, while I stood at his table, and, while 
blotting it, saying, ' You can send it off, but I don't think 
he'll be able to make it out.' " To this experience may be 
added my own — that I have been the first to decipher one 
of these notes addressed to an unattached artist, now under- 
stood for the first time, nearly twenty years after it was 
written. To the compositors he was a perpetual tribulation ; 

Taylor's Epitaph in ''Punch." 341 

and it is doubtful if he could not have given points to Horace 
Greeley. That his son helped him, towards the end, in a 
secretarial sort of wa}', was no doubt a saving mere}'. 

His was one of the busiest literary and journalistic careers 
of the day ; and when he died he left a void — great, it is 
true, yet in one respect easily enough filled. But it was 
little to his friends that his humour was not of the brightest 
and lightest, for his heart was of the warmest, as Mr. George 
Meredith set forth in the October number of the " Cornhill 
Magazine," to which he contributed a noble tribute — " To 
a Friend Recently Lost, T. T." — a sonnet beginning : — 

''When 1 remember, Friend, whom lost I call 
Because a man beloved is taken hence. 
The tender humour and the fire of sense 
In your good eyes : how full of heart for all ; 
And chiefly for the weaker by the wall, 
You bore that light of sane benevolence : " 


The Punch men, themselves, in a whole-page obituary (July 
24th, 1880J, bore graceful testimony to his personal worth. 
"That he is not with us," they said, "is hard to imagine. 
... A cultivated man of letters, an admirable scholar, he 
was as free from pedantry as he was incapable of idleness. 
From first to last he was, in the highest and best sense, 
* Thorough,' . . . Quick to detect and appreciate talent, he 
was ready in every way and on all occasions to hold out a 
helping hand to a beginner." Thus feelingly they spoke of 
"the dear friend" they had lost. For in his death the}' 
forgot the little annoyances they had suffered ft'om the tam- 
pering with their lines and spoiling their points, of which 
they had sometimes had occasion to complain ; with other 
drawbacks belonging to an essentially fidgety nature. It 
may safeh^ be said, that if he left a hard task to his 
successor to work up the reputation of Punch as a comic 
paper, he did not at least render it difficult for liim to 
make his mark by comparison. 

No new humorist appeared in the volumes for 1845. 
although a poet of eminence found expression on a single 

342 The History of " Puxch." 

occasion. To one Kell}' is to be credited some humorous 
verses on " Dunsinane ; " to J. Rigby, an Irish Song ; to Leech, 
his Harlequinade verses (which do not aspire even to the 
dignitv of a " trifle " or doggerel) ; to Watts Phillips, a few 
articles of little importance ; and to J. King, the verses in 
M^hich an ''Exiled Londoner" (p. 147, Vol. IX.) apostrophises 
his beloved Babylon. The one contribution of importance 
was that of Mr. Coventry Patmore. 

This was written in hot indignation of generous youth 
(he was but twenty-two years old) at the French atrocity in 
Algiers, when, during the campaign, General Pelissier filled 
with straw the mouth of the caves of Dahra, wherein the 
opposing Arabs, with their women and children, had taken 
refuge, and set fire to the mass. This foul act of the 
future Duke of Malakoff caused a thrill of horror to pass 
through Europe, and the gentle author of "The Angel in 
the House " was moved by the scandal to the composition 
of his eight-stanza poem, of which Douglas Jerrold procured 
the insertion on the i6th of August (p. j^, Vol. IX.): — 

" Rush the sparks in rapid fountains 

Up abroad into the sky ! 
From the bases of the mountains 

Leap the fork'd flames mountain-high ! 
The flames, like devils thirsting, 

Lick the wind, where crackling spars 
Wage hellish warfare, worsting 

All the still, astonished stars ! 
Ply the furnace, fling the faggots ! 

Lo, the flames writhe, rush, and tear 
And a thousand writhe like maggots 

In among them — Vive la guerre f^ 

The poem follows the details of the massacre, sickening but 
for the power the lines display. It continues : 

" And now, to crown our glor}-, 
Get we trophies, to display 
As vouchers for our story. 
And mementoes of this da)' ! 

Mr. Coventry Patmore. — ''Jacob Omnium." 343 

Once more, then, to the grottoes ! 

Gather each one all he can — 
Blister'd blade with Arab mottoes, 

Spear-head, blood}' 3'ataghan. 
Give room now to the raven 

And the dog, who scent rich fare ; 
And let these words be graven 

On the rock-side — P^i'vc la giicrre f^^ 

It was Mr. Patmore's sole contribution, his Muse never again 
being startled into any other poetical demonstration of the 
sort in Punch's pages. The following year he became assistant- 
librarian at the British Museum. 

" Jacob Omnium's " first appearance, curiously enough, 
was with a short article which, in the reprinted works of 
Thackeray, has been ascribed to the novelist. This was 
"A Plea for Plush" (July 20th, 1846), appropriately signed 
" ^c\o(f)XvvKr]<;" dealing, it is true, with Jeames's nether gar- 
ments on a hot day, but still with no internal evidence of 
st3'le to warrant its ascription to the " Fat Contributor." 
Henceforward his other few papers were entered to him in 
his own name of Matthew J. Higgins. He was a great 
friend of the Punch Staff, particularly of Thackeray and 
Leech. Of him the former had written in the " Ballad of 
Policeman X" — 

" His name is Jacob Homnium, Exquire ; 
And if y'd committed crimes, 
Good Lord ! I wouldn't ave that mann 
Attack me in the Times! ■" 

while Leech took his part against Lord John Russell on 
the occasion of Higgins's " Stor)^ of the Mhow Court Mar- 
tial." He was shown as a tall, self-possessed gentleman, 
saying to the little fellow, who is sparring up to him — " Pooh, 
go and hit one of your own size." Higgins's height, indeed, 
was gi^eater than that of either Thackeray or his friend Dean 
Hole — six feet eight ; and when the three friends walked 
abroad, the sensation among the passers-by was consider- 
able. On Thackeray and Dean Hole measuring heights once 
in the house of a common friend, it was found that the}' were 

344 The History of "Punch." 

practically equal. "Ah, yes," exclaimed the Dean;' ''the 
cases are about the same, but one contains a poor dancing- 
master's fiddle, and the other a Stradivarius." 

Punch's sensation of the year was the fierce revenge 
taken bv Tennyson in its pages on Buhver Lytton. Buhver, 
as is explained elsewhere, had been set up by Punch as one 
of its pet butts from the very beginning ; and when Tenny- 
son's sledge-hammer onslaught was brought to them, so it is 
said, by a distinguished man of letters — a particular friend of 
both parties — they rejoiced exceedingly. Tennyson's broad- 
side had not been unprovoked. Years before, in 1830, he 
had published, through Effingham Wilson, " Poems, chiefly 
Lyrical," which contained the poem "To a Darling Room," 
afterwards suppressed. Seizing on this, Lytton had re-echoed 
in his " New Timon : A Romance of London," the strictures 
which Christopher North has so severely, though good-naturedly, 
passed upon it in " Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine " for 
May, 1832, and furthermore taunted the Laureate with the 
pension of ^200 which had just been conferred upon him. 
The attack was just the sort to extort a violent reply. 

"Not mine, not mine (O, muse forbid I) the boon 
Of borrowed notes, the mock-bird's modish tune, 
The jingling medley of purloined conceits 
Out-babying Wordsworth, and out-glittering Keats, 
Where all the airs of patchwork pastoral chime 

To drown the ears in Tennj-sonian rhvme. 

* * * 

" Let school-miss Alfred vent her chaste delight 
On darling rooms, so warm and bright ; * 
Chant ' I am weary ' in infectious strain, 
And ' catch the blue-fly singing on the pane ; ' 
Though praised bv critics and adored by Blues, 
Though Peel with pudding plumb the puling muse ; 
Though Theban taste the Saxon purse controls. 
And pensions Tennyson while starves a Knowles." 

* The author here quotes in a footnote a few lines from the poem, beginning 

" O, darling room, my heart's delight " 

and then observes: "The whole of this Poem (!!!) is worth reading, in 
order to see to what depths of silliness the human intellect can descend." 

Tennyson's Retaliation on Lytton. 345 

PuncJi (p. 64, Vol. X.) had rushed in to the rescue 
with the clever retort : — 

" The New Timon " and Alfred Tennyson^ s Pension. 

" You've seen a lordly mastiff's port, 
Bearing in calm, contemptuous sort 
The snarls of some o'erpetted pup 
Who grudges him his ' bit and sup : ' 
So stands the bard of Locksley Hall, 
While puny darts around him fall, 
Tipp'd with what Timon takes for venom ; 
He is the mastiff, Ttm the Blenheim." 

But Tennyson's was not by an}- means " the lordly mastiff's 
port." He was stung by the contemptuous reference to the 
pension, and proved the truth of Johnson's aphorism — 

, "Of all the griefs that harass the distrest. 

Sure the most bitter is the scornful jest " 

and he straightway wrote the ten verses that appeared 
under the title of " The New Timon, and the Poets " (p. 103, 
Vol. X.), signing them " Alcibiades " : — • 

" We know him, out of Shakespeare's art, 
And those fine curses which he spoke ; 

The old Timon, with his noble heart. 
That, strongly loathing, greatly broke. 

So died the Old : here comes the New. 
Regard him : a familiar face : 

I thought we knew him : What, it's you. 

The padded man that wears the stays — 

* * # 

" What profits now to imderstand 
The merits of a spotless shirt — 
A dapper boot — a little hand — 

If half the little soul is dirt ? 

* * * 

" A Timon, you ! Nay,- nay, for shame : 
It looks too arrogant a jest — 
The fierce old man — to take his name. 
You bandbox. Off, and let him rest." 

This crushing rejoinder was cordially welcomed by Thackeray 

346 The History of "Punch." 

and the rest of the Staff, who loved to castigate the fopperies 
of the conceited poetaster, and Lytton, it is said, was not a 
httle astonished at the virihty of " school-miss Alfred." But 
Tennyson's anger soon cooled ; perhaps his conscience smote 
him ; for the very next week he toned down the savagery 
of his first verses in an " Afterthought," in which he said : 

" And / too talk, and lose the touch 
I talk of. Surely, after all, 
The noblest answer unto such 

Is kindly silence when they brawl." 

The first set of verses are not to be found in the poet's 
collected poems ; but the second are included, only " kindly 
silence " is replaced by " perfect stillness." After that Tenny- 
son broke, silence no more ; and Lytton subsequently made 
what was put forward as an amende honorable, in a speech 
at Hertford (October, 1862), when he said that "we must 
comfort ourselves with the thought so exquisitely expressed 
by our Poet Laureate," and so forth. The quarrel between 
Punch and Lytton faded, first into a truce, and then into 
friendship; and in 185 1 we find several of the Staff playing 
"Not so Bad as we Seem" — written specially for them — 
at Devonshire House, before the Queen and the Prince Con- 
sort. It may not inappropriately be mentioned that when 
Woolner's bust of Tennyson was presented to Trinity College 
and the authorities excluded it from the chapel and library 
on the ground that there was no precedent for paying so 
much honour to a living person, Punch, by the hand of 
Shirley Brooks, published one of the finest parodies extant 
of the Laureate's style, beginning with the line — 

" I am not dead ; of that I do repent." 

In January, 1847, Horace Smith, the brother of James — 
they of the " Rejected Addresses " — contributed a column 
" Christmas Commercial Report ; " and John Macgregor — 
"Rob Roy" — began his acknowledged series of papers and 
sketches with "Costumes for the Commons" and "Meet- 
ing of the Streets," the pecuniary results of which he devoted 

Mr. Henry Silver. 



{From a Photograph by 
Elliott and Fry.) 

to police-court poor-boxes. He was hardly more than a 
lad at the time ; but he was already a strong writer, and 
his references to the French Revolution have the intrinsic 
merit that the}' were written by one who was in Paris at 
the time when the "Citizen King" took flight to England. 

Mr. Henrv Silver, ex-Pimc/i Staft' 
officer, first appeared anonymousl}' in 
Punch in Febniar}-, 1848, with an 
obituar}' notice, sent from Norwich, 
where he was articled to Sir William 
Foster, Bart., solicitor. It was called 
''The Death of Mr. Wimbush's Ele- 
phant" — the Jumbo of the period, 
which had died at the age of eighty- 
four. He was then only twenty years 
of age, and, encouraged by this success, 
he began contributing trifles to " The 
Month." This publication was edited by 
Albeit Smith in 1851 ; but although it 

was illustrated by Leech, and was one of the most genuinely 
humorous works of its kind, it ran for onh' six months. 
When "The Month" came to a sudden stop, the articles 
remaining unpublished were turned over to Mark Lemon to 
see what use he could make of them. Some were by Mr. 
Silver, who was forthwith summoned fi-om his anonymity 
by a line in Punch : " ' Naughty Boy ' has not sent his 
address." Mark Lemon was not kept waiting for the 
answer, and after paying him for several of his previous 
contributions (an attention highly appreciated) he at once 
installed the young man as a writer at the rate of one 
guinea per column. This, in due course, was raised to 
thirty shillings, and at that remained until 1831, when he 
received a weekly stipend of six guineas, which the Editor 
declared to be the maximum then payable to a Punch 
writer. Some years previous to this, and soon after the 
death of Douglas Jerrold, ^Slr. Silver had been summoned to 
occupy the place at the Table left vacant by the great 
satirist. " Mv chief work," he writes in answer to my inquiry, 

348 The History of "Punch" 

"was in the decade ending with the 'Sixties, though it by 
no means ceased then. I often filled four or five columns 
a week, and contributed ' Punch's History of Costume 
(illustrated by Tenniel), "'Our Dramatic Con-espondent,' 
' Our Dramatic Spectator,' with a great amount of prose and 
verse, and sundry pages of the ' Essence of Parliament ' when 
Shirley Brooks was away." 

Perhaps Mr. Silver's greatest service to Punch, as else- 
where explained, was his introduction of Charles Keene, with 
whom he was very intimate for more than forty years. His 
friendship with Leech, a fellow-Carthusian, though of course 
greatly his senior, is another interesting passage of his life, 
testified to by the many hunting sketches which, with a score 
or more of Keene's, decorated the billiard room of the fine old 
house in Kensington where Leech had died, and which Mr, 
Silver subsequently occupied until it was pulled down in 1893. 
At Leech's death ]Mr. Silver was invited b}' ]\Iark Lemon 
to apply to the Governors of Charterhouse for the gift of 
an admission into "Gown-boys" for the son of the great 
draughtsman who had been so good a friend. After many 
fruitless efforts he was at length successful, and received the 
welcome present from the hands of Lord John Russell — as is 
set forth elsewhere. On the death of Lemon, Mr. Silver 
severed his regular connection with Punch. 

The advent of the brilliant journalist Mr. Sutherland 
Edwards was the other event of 1848. " I was engaged on 
Punch," he says, " at the recommendation of Gilbert a Beckett, 
who had thought well of satirical verses and poems con- 
tributed by me to a paper called VPasquin.' Douglas Jerrold, 
however, had been attacked rather severely in ' Pasquin ; ' 
not by me, but by James Hannay. Hannay and myself wrote 
the whole of ' Pasquin ' up to the time of my quitting that 
publication in order to write for Punch ; and we considered 
ourselves jointh* responsible for what appeared in its columns. 
Jerrold was away in the Channel Islands at the time of my 
being engaged on Punch ; and on his return to London he 
showed himself annoyed (not unnaturally, perhaps) at the 
Editor, Mark Lemon, having engaged me. 'Two youths,' he 

Charles Dickens Sends a Contribution- 


was reported to have said, ' throw mud at me, and because 
one of them hits me in the eye 3'ou clasp him to }-our 
bosom.' Mark Lemon now asked me to give up writ- 
ing for Punchy but to contribute as much as I hked to a 
magazine he was about to start with the assistance of the 
contributors to Punch. It was to have been called 'The 
Gallanty Show ; ' but it ne^•er came out. After I had 
contributed to Punch for some weeks, I wrote a few articles 
for one of ' Punch's Pocket-Books ; ' then finding I was 
not wanted, I ceased to send in contributions, and my en- 
gagement came to an end. ... I resumed my connection 
with Punch when Mr. Burnand became Editor (thirt^'-two 
years afterwards), and still write for it from time to time, 
but only as an occasional contributor." In this year Richard 
Doyle made a slight literary appearance in the paper, with 
an article on '' High Art and the Royal Academ}-." 

Charles Dickens is supposed to have contributed to Punch 
in the following year (1849) an article entitled "Dreadful 
Hardships Endured by the Shipwrecked Crew of the London, 
Chiefly for Want of Water" — a criticism on the scandalous 
condition of the suburban water supply. Mr. F. G. Kitton 
has examined the original manuscript preserved by Mrs, 
Mark Lemon in her autogi-aph album. Mr. Hatton found it 
among Lemon's papers, bearing on the outside, in the Editor's 
handwriting, the inscription, '' Dickens' onh' contribution to 
Punch/" But the alleged contribution is absolutely undis- 
coverable in the pages of the paper. The explanation is, in 
Mr. Kitton's words, that '' about the time the manuscript was 
written, several pictorial allusions to foul water in suburban 
London appeared in Punch, which bear directly upon the sub- 
ject of Dickens's protest, and it is surmised that the Editor, 
on the receipt of Dickens's contribution, considered that gi'eater 
prominence would be given to the matter to which they 
referred by means of a cartoon than by a fe^^' lines of text. 
Hence we find the rebuke enforced by the pencil of the 
artist, instead of the mere literary lashing which Dickens 
intended to inflict upon that particular public grievance." 
It may safel}^ be suggested that this was the onl}- occasion 

-And is Rejected. 351 

on which, after his reputation was made, Dickens was ever 
"dechned with thanks." This MS., it may be added, was 
sokl at Sotheby's on the 9th of July, 1889, and was knocked 
down for ^16. 

The curious fact remains that Dickens, who was the inti- 
mate friend of Piincli s Editor for the best part of their working 
hves, whose publishers were Pitnch's proprietors as well as 
the publishers and part proprietors of the "Daily Xews," which 
Dickens edited, never contributed to PinicJi, nor was in any 
wa}' identified with it, save, indeed, with its Dinner-Table. At 
that function he was at one time a frequent visitor, and also 
was he present when at the Prince of Wales's wedding a 
brilliant company assembled at the publishing office to see the 
cortege go by. It was on that occasion that Sothern, one of the 
invited guests, arrived on the other side of the way, but, owing 
to the denseness of the crowd, was utterly unable to force 
his way across. His friends caught sight of him, and pointed 
to a policeman. Sothern took the hint. " Get me through," 
he whispered, " and Til give you a sovereign." "Afraid I can't," 
said the man regretfully, " but I'll try." A prodigious effort was 
made, but unsuccessfully, loud protests going up from the 
packed crowd. Sothern was at his wits' end ; he could not 
bear the thought of losing such a dinner in such a company, 
but his invention did not fail him. " Look here," he said to 
the constable ; " put your handcuffs on me, drag me through 
and land me at that door, and I'll give you /a-o pounds." The 
man seized the idea and Sothern together ; he slipped on the 
handcuffs, and with a loud " Make way, there ! " dragged his 
prize through a mass of humanity that was only too happy to 
assist the law as for as might be ; and after a few moments of 
crushing, pushing, and general rough handling, the dishevelled 
comedian was successfully landed at Punch's publishing door. 
"You'll find the money in my waistcoat pocket," said Sothern. 
But he did not observe that, after the policeman had secured 
it, a stealthy addition was made to the money in the con- 
stabular palm by one of his Punch friends ; and only when 
the man disappeared in the crowd did Sothern realise that a 
timelv bribe had left him to mix with his friends for the rest 

352 The History of ''Punch!' 

of the day and to eat his dinner with hands firmly secured in 
his manacles ! 

It is said that Dickens held aloof from Punch on account 
of Thackeray's success in it. If so, the jealousy must have been 
all on Dickens' side ; for Thackeray's well-known exclamation, 
when he hurried into the Punch office and slapped down before 
Lemon the latest number of "Dombey and Son" containing 
Paul Dombev's death, "It's stupendous ! unsuipassed ! There's 
no writing against such power as this ! " was that of a 
generous and magnanimous man. Bryan Proctor (" Barry 
Cornwall " ), Avriting to E. Fitzgerald in 1870, said, " I saw a good 
deal of Thackeray until his death. ... I did not observe 
much jealousy in Thackera}" towards Dickens, nor vice versa. 
The)' travelled prett)' comfortabh' on their dust}' road together. 
Each had a quantity of good-nature, and each could afford 
to be liberal to the other." The probable explanation is that 
Dickens simply did not care to interrupt his triumphant career 
of novelist in order to write occasional articles in a paper in 
which anonymity was the rule and rejection so painfully possible. 

Once, however, by the hand of Leech, Dickens made an 
appearance in Punch, and, curiously enough, only once. This 
was in the drawing of the awful appearance of a " wopps " at 
a picnic (p. 76, Vol. XVII.), where the novelist appears as the 
handsome, but not very striking-, youth attendant on the young 
lady who is overcome at the distressing situation. It must 
be admitted that the portrait is hardly recognisable. 

But a serious quarrel broke out between Dickens and the 
Pxinch men, publishers and Editor alike — a quarrel wholly on 
Dickens's side. So gi^eat had been his intimacy and his influence 
that he could cause the insertion of a cartoon and even bring 
about the alteration of the Dinner dav. But now, on the 
unhappy differences between himself and his wife, trouble 
arose between old friends. Mark Lemon had naturally leaned 
towards the wife, fi^om chivalr}- and sense of right, and the 
publishers preferred to take no share in a quarrel in which 
they certainly had no concern. On May 28, 1859, the whole 
of the back page of Punch was given to an advertisement of 
"Once a Week," which was to follow "Household Words," 


Dickens' Q ua rrel. 353 

and to an explanation of the position of affairs between 
" Mr. Charles Dickens and his late Publishers." The following 
paragraphs are all that it is needful to quote from the 
statement : — 

" So far as 1836, Bradbury and Evans had business relations with 
Mr. Dickens, and, in 1844, an agreement was entered into by which 
they acquired an interest in all the works he might write, or in any 
periodical he might originate, during a term of seven years. Under 
this agreement Bradbury and Evans became possessed of a joint, 
though unequal, interest with Mr. Dickens in ' Household Words,' 
commenced in 1850. Friendly relations had simultaneously sprung 
up between them, and they were on terms of close intimacy in 1858, 
when circumstances led to Mr. Dickens's publication of a statement, 
on the subject of his conjugal differences, in various newspapers, 
including 'Household Words' of June 12th. 

" The public disclosure of these differences took most people by 
surprise, and was notoriously the subject of comments, by no means 
complimentary to Mr. Dickens himself, as regarded the taste of this 
proceeding. On June 17th, however, Bradbury and Evans learnt 
from a common friend, that Mr. Dickens had resolved to break off 
his connection with them, because this statement was not printed in 
the number of Punch published the day preceding — -in other words^ 
because it did not occur to Bradbury and Evans to exceed their 
legitimate functions as proprietors and publishers, and to require the 
insertion of statements on a domestic and painful subject in the 
inappropriate columns of a comic miscellany. No previous request 
for the insertion of this statement had been made either to Bradbury 
and Evans, or to the editor of Punch, and the grievance of Mr. 
Dickens substantially amounted to this, that Bradbury and Evans 
did not take upon themselves, unsolicited, to gratify an eccentric 
wish by a preposterous action. . . . Bradbury and Evans re- 
plied that they did not, and could not, believe that this was the sole 
cause of Mr. Dickens's altered feeling towards them ; but they were 
assured that it was the sole cause, and that Mr. Dickens desired to 
bear testimony to their integrity and zeal as his publishers, but that 
his resolution was formed, and nothing could alter it." 

So this foolish estrangement went on until, years afterwards, 
Clarkson Stanfield on his death-bed besought Dickens to resume 
his friendship with the man with whom, after all, he had had 
no cause of quarrel. So Dickens sent to Lemon (whom he 



The History of "Punch. 

doubtless suspected of having written the pubhshers' damag- 
ing defence just quoted) a kindly letter when " Uncle 
Mark" appeared as Falstaff before the pubhc, and when 
Stanfield was buried the two men clasped hands over his 
open grave ; and later on, when Dickens died, some of the 
most touching and beautiful verses that ever appeared in 
Punch were devoted to his memory. 

In 1850 appeared James Hannay, 
Mr. Sutherland Edwards' associate in 
"Pasquin," and founder (I am informed 
by his cousin, Mr. J. L. Hannay, the 
police magistrate) of " The Puppet 
Show." It was when he was approached 
by the proprietors of this periodical (the 
Vizetelly brothers), and was asked to 
write for it as well — " Something in the 
manner of Sterne, with a dash of Swift " 
— he replied that in that case his re- 
muneration would have to be " Some- 
thing in the manner of Rothschild, with 
a dash of Baring." Hannay was at that time on the 
" Morning Chronicle," after having, like Jerrold and Stanfield, 
given a trial to the Royal Xavy and found it wanting. He 
literally fought his way into Punch, just as Shirley Brooks 
did a few years subsequently, and was assisted from within 
by the kindly appreciation of Thackeray. Perhaps Jerrold 
was reconciled to the accession in \\e\\ of Hannay having 
started " The Puppet Show " with the main object of violent!}' 
assaulting his old friend and chum Mr. Edwards, who, in 
spite of all journalistic amenities, remained his chum, for 
these assaults were only attacks pour rire. 

For a time Hannay's pen was of the utmost value to Punch. 
His earliest contributions were notes on a tour in Scotland — his 
native country — he describing himself as ** The Scotchman who 
went back again." But he did not remain very long with 
Punch ; besides being a wit, he was a scholar with a very 
serious side to his character, and the amusement of the public 
became, in his eyes, less important than their instruction. He 


{From a Photograph by 
T. Rogers.) 

Jamrs Hanxay. 355 

was only twenty-three when he produced his first novel of 
"Singleton Fontenoy, R.X.," which so pleased Carlyle that it 
induced the old philosopher to invite him to his house. Then 
he turned lecturer on literary subjects, became "Quarterly" 
reviewer, married a daughter of Kenny Meadows, took to 
diplomacy in a small way, and was appointed Her Majesty's 
Consul at Barcelona, where he died in 1873. Mr. Holman 
Hunt, one of the band of wits and youthful geniuses of whom 
Hannay was the wittiest of all, writes to me of him as " a 
contributor of great power who might with self-control have 
gained a great position-^a friend who used to come on our 
nocturnal boating expeditions up the river. He was one of 
the dear crew who in different capacities and with varied 
powers once manned life's larger boat with me." 

Sir John Tenniel contributed a few pieces in 185 1 (p. 56, 
Vol. XX.) and later, but they were of little importance. 
Cuthbert Bede was as much a writer as a draughtsman, as he 
showed by his parody of the "High-mettled Racer." Then 
came another of Punch's stars of the first magnitude, Shirley 

X 2 



PUNCH'S WRITERS : 1 852-78. 

Shirley Brooks — His Wit and Humour — Training — Lays Siege to Punch — 
And Carries him by Assault — " Essence of Parliament " — Williarh Brough 
— Mr. Beatty Kingston — F. I. Scudamore — M. J. Barry — Dean Hole — Mr. 
Charles L. Eastlake — Mr. Francis Cowley Burnand — His Little Joke with 
Cardinal Manning — " Fun " — " Mokeanna" — Its Success — Thackeray's Con- 
gratulations to Punch — " Happy Thoughts " — And Other Happy Thoughts — 
— Mr. Burnand as a Ground-Swell ■ — Promoted to the Editorship — The 
Apotheosis of the Pun — Mr. J. Priestman Atkinson — Mr. John Hollingshead 
— Mr. R. F. Sketchley — "Artemus Ward" — A Death-bed Ambition— H. Savile 
Clarke — Locker-Lampson and C. S. Cah-erley — Miss Betham-Edwards — 
Mr. du Maurier's "Vers Nonsensiques " — Mr. A. P. Graves — Rev. Stainton 
Moses — Mr. Arthur W. a Beckett — " A. Briefless, Junior " — Mortimer 
Collins — Mr. E. J. Milliken— "The'Arry Papers " — Gilbert a Beckett — " How 
we Advertise Now" — Mr. H. F. Lester — Mr. Burnand and the Corporal. 

Shirley Brooks — he dropped his 
first names of Charles William — -was 
perhaps the most brilliant and useful 
all-round man who ever wrote for 
Punch. His rapidity was extraor- 
dinary. The clergyman who boasted 
that he could write a sermon in an 
hour " and think nothing of it " courted 
the reply that probably the congrega- 
tion thought nothing of it either. But 
the single hour in which Brooks began 
and finished the composition of his 
" Rime of the Ancient Aldemian" (1855) 
— a poem of fift}- stanzas, that fills nine pages in his volume of 
selected work — brought him criticism of a different sort. His 
facility was not less astonishing, and I have heard repeated 
some of his flashes of epigram enclosed in polished verse 
which it would be hard to believe were extempore but for 
the circumstances under which they were inspired. Indeed, 


(From a Photograph by Lotnbardi 
and Co.) 

Sh/rley Brooks. 357 

his fancy, like himself, was a diamond of great fire and high 
polish, and rich hy bounteous favour of nature. He was as 
witty as Jerrold without the sting ; but, when he chose, he 
could strike as hard, and, as he himself once said, never care 
"a horse's mamma." 

He had been articled to a solicitor, but he prefeiTed the 
comic muse, and Punch on "Joe Miller" was more to him than 
Coke upon Littleton. His humorous prose and graceful witty 
verse were cast upon the waters of the comic press. He was 
thirty-two before he had his best chance of making himself 
widely known in the line he especially loved. This was in 
1847, when he began to write for the ''Man in the Moon," 
which was just started under the editorship of two PuncJi 
men — Albert Smith and Angus B. Reach. For the latter 
he had a close and tender friendship. When Reach fell ill, 
Brooks did all his journalistic work for months, and would 
touch not a penny of the money ; as the cheques arrived, they 
were immediately forwarded for the benefit of the sufferer. He 
was his colleague on the "Morning Chronicle," for which Brooks 
was gallery-reporter in the House of Commons for five sessions 
as well as leader-writer, and when Reach was sent through 
France on an expedition of inquiry into the condition of the 
agricultural classes, Brooks was despatched through South 
Russia, Asia Minor, and Egypt. And in 1852 he wrote in 
conjunction with him "A Stor}- with a Vengeance," which was 
partly illustrated by Charles Keene ; but the artist was at that 
time so little known that it was not considered worth the 
publisher's while to mention his name. 

Under Reach's editorship, then, he appeared in the " Man 
in the Moon," and the next 3^ear (1848) in Hannay's "Puppet 
Show." It was for the pages of the fomier (November, 1847) 
that Brooks wrote one of the severest assaults on Punch ever 
published — the more severe for the excellence of its quality. 
It was entitled "Our Flight with Punch" (in imitation 
of Tom Tavlor's " Flight with Russell " and his far less 
happy " Flight with Louis Philippe," in Punch, i\ugust and 
October, 1847, Volume XIII. ), in which the "Man in the 
Moon " was supposed to fly, genie-like, with Punch over 

358 The History of "Punch." 

the land which at one time he ruled with his wit ; and the 
" Drear}^ Hunchback," as he was apostrophised, was caustically- 
besought to awake and stem the tide of his supposed degenera- 
tion. It is hardl}^ surprising that this poem, clever as it is, 
was not reprinted in the posthumous collection of the writer's 

But not immediately did he conquer his position. There 
were still years to wait, which were occasionally occupied with 
a pleasing attack on Punch, one of which, it is said, drew from 
Leech his picture of two little " snobs " in a low coffee-house. 
" Punch is very dummy and slow this week, I think," says the 
first disreputable-looking " fast man." " So do I," replies the 
other. " It's their own fault, too, for I sent 'em some dem'd 
funny articles, which the humbugs sent me back." '' That's just 
the way they served me," resumes his friend — "the great 
fools!" But at last, at the end of 1851, his first contribution 
to Punch was received, and he was soon invited to join the 
Staff. He was not long in making a mark with " Miss Violet," 
but it was not among his strongest contributions. Neverthe- 
less, "Epicurus Rotundus" was now a made man on the 
highway to success. 

It was his charm and grace as much as his vigour that 
compelled the admiration of his fellows and their admission 
that he was the most valuable accession that the Staff had ever 
received. At the dinner given to Thackeray in 1856, Jerrold, 
in proposing Brooks's health, pronounced him " the most rising 
journalist of the day," and Mark Lemon declared openly that 
" Shirley's pen is the gi-acefullest in London." It was, in fact, 
the general opinion at the time that his verses combined much 
of the technical merit of Pope's with the keen sarcasm of 
Swift ; and of such verse he contributed not fewer than six 
hundred pieces in the course of his Punch career. One of their 
merits was the unexpected spontaneity of their humour— the 
faculty that is distinctive of some of the best of his mots, such 
as that when looking at Edmund Yates's book-shelves which 
caused him to pause before one of the volumes and read off 
" Homer's Iliad," and murmur, " Homer's — Yes — that is the 
best." On one occasion he, with Mr. George Chester (my 

Brooks Appointed Editor. 359 

informant), was on a visit to Mark Lemon at Crawley, and at 
the breakfast-table a discussion arose between the two men 
upon noses, their shapes and characteristics. Turning kindly 
to one of his host's little daughters, and looking at her delicate 
little 7iez retrousse, he said, " When they were looking about for 
a nose for you, my dear, they chose the first that turned up" — 
a joke often since repeated and well-nigh worked to death. 

The contribution bv which he will certainly be best and 
most gratefully remembered is his " Essence of Parliament " — 
a work which was entirely his own conception, and which 
was continued for twenty years from week to week while 
Parliament was sitting, with cleverness, refinement, truth, and 
humour that are invaluable to the historian and delightful to 
the general reader. For this work his experience and training 
as the '' Chronicle " reporter were invaluable to him. Brooks 
was essentially a politician in feeling, full of suggestion — apt, 
happy, and ingenious — and yet could turn with ease and equal 
facility to social, literary, poetical, or art-critical work, to his 
daily " leader " or weekly article for the '' Illustrated London 
News." He was in his time the cartoon suggestor-in-chief, 
and towards the end of Mark Lemon's life rendered great 
assistance in the editorship of the paper ; although Percival 
Leigh was the recognised locum tenens. Lemon had been 
dead but just a week when Brooks wrote (June ist, 1870) 
from the Punch office to a fi"iend : — 

" Yesterda}' I accepted the Editorship of Punch. It will be a tie, 
and give me trouble, but I seem to have been generally expected to 
take the situation, and it is not good to disappoint General Expecta- 
tions, as he is a stern officer. Wish me good fortune — but I know 
you do. 

'* I was offered a seat on a four-horse coach, for the Derby, along- 
side M. Gustave Dore. But I am here. Who says I have no self- 
denial ? " 

— which shows that he was already in harness. 

In his editorship he took the utmost pride, and he would 
defend his paper with spirit. When an ill-mannered acquaint- 
ance told him "that of all the London papers he considered 

360 The History of '' Pcxch!' 

Punch the dullest," Brooks replied, " I wonder you ever read 
it." "I don't," said the other. "So I thought," retorted the 
Editor, "by your foohsh remark." 

Shirley Brooks fell ill with a complication of disorders, 
and Mr. Burnand did him the same service on Punch that 
he had done for Lemon, and that Leigh did for himself and 
Tom Taylor. When he was near his end, and a newspaper 
acquaintance called persistently to inquire how he was pro- 
gressing, "Tell him," said the sick man, with a shrewd smile 
about his lips, " that he shall have his ' par ' in good time." 
He was engaged in writing " Election Epigrams " and " The 
Situation" on his death-bed; and died in February, 1874, 
before their publication. He was buried in the cemetery 
of Kensal Green, close to where Thackeray lay by Leech, 
and within whose walls, though at some distance apart, Doyle 
was to sleep, and Henry Mayhew. 

Neither Robert nor William Brough ever drew for Punch, 
but it is the belief of their brother, Mr. Lionel Brough, that 
they were both at one time literary contributors. Of this, 
however, I have no record. William was brother-in-law to 
Mark Lemon, but the two men were not on the best ot 
terms. Robert, a provincial Jerrold, with all Douglas's power 
of sarcasm and some of his genius, had started the "Liverpool 
Lion," and was a brilliant comic draughtsman. It was the 
success of his play, " The Enchanted Isle," that brought him 
to London, where he wrote burlesques and so forth ; but he 
will be remembered for his clever illustrations to most of 
Punch's rivals of his time, as well as his creation of " Billie 
Barlow" — the "Ally Sloper" of the day; and it was not to 
Punch's advantage that he did not enlist Brough's humorous 

In the year 1854 — or it may have been a few months later 
— Mr. W. Beatty Kingston made an earh' appearance with a 
cockney ballad on the subject of the admission of female 
searchers to the penetralia of H.M. Record Office, of which at 
that time he was a "flickering light" at £100 a 3-ear. Soon 
he took service under the Hapsburgs, and left England after- 
wards for nearly a quarter of a century. In 1883 he resumed 

A Brilliant Epigram. 361 

comic operations on the invitation of Mr. Burnand, and con- 
tinued, until June, 1887, to contribute a good deal of verse, 
illustrated bv Mr. Sambourne and Mr. Furniss. MauA' of these 
pieces have since been republished in " My Hansom Lays ; " 
while of those which have since appeared some, such as 
"A Triplet" and ''The Wizard's Curse," have passed into 
the category of " stock recitations." 

Then F. I. Scudamore, still remembered for his vers, de 
societe, was a passing contributor. But in 1855 he joined 
" The Comic Times," with other of old Punch outsiders, and 
then obtained an appointment in the Government Telegraphs, 
and, with a Companionship of the Bath, the superintendence 
of the Constantinople Post Office. 

Mr. Ashby-SteiTy's name belongs to the following year, but 
he appeared solely as a draughtsman ; his literary connection, 
which began twenty-four 3^ears later, will be spoken of in its 
proper place. Michael John Barr}^ was another who at this 
time (1857) shed no little brilliancy on Punch; and to him 
is now credited the admirable " Peccavi " despatch — perhaps 
the most finished and pointed that ever appeared in Punch' s 
pages, and certainly one of the most highly appreciated and 
most loudh' applauded : — 

^'•''Peccavi! I've Scinde^ said Lord Ellen* so proud — 
Dalhousie, more modest, said ^ Vovi\ I've Oude / ' '' 

This brilliant couplet, according to the "Times," is said to 
have been contended for by " both Punch and Thomas Hood ; " 
and it never was finally decided which of the two great 
humorists followed the other. Their claims, indeed, are not 
irreconcilable. Latterly, the credit has been claimed, with 
some show of authority, for Barry, who was generally regarded 
in his day as one of Jerrold's peers in wit. It is curious to 
observe that in the House of Commons debate on the Candahar 
question, Mr. P. J. Smyth was reported to have referred to 
" the unexampled brevity of the General's despatch after he had 
won his great victory on the Indus," in the quaint belief that 
the first half-line of the epigram was Lord Ellenborough's 
actual report. 

* Lord Eilenborough. 

362 The History of "Punch'' 

The Very Rev. Reynolds Hole, Dean of Rochester, always 
a spoilt child of Pjinch's, and the intimate friend of Leech, 
was more of a Punch man than most contributors, as he 
was one of the very few outsiders who were ever entertained 
at the Wednesday Dinner.^ " Some six-and-thirty years ago," 
he infonned me, " Mark Lemon wrote to me, ' Ptmch is 
proud of such a contributor,' and I have his letter. I wrote 
a few short paragraphs about Oxford, and some longer articles 
in verse, entitled ' The Sportsman's Dream ' and ' My Butler.' 
Leech told me, ' You are an honorary member of our weekly 
meetings, and will be always welcome. ' " His chamiing book, 
"A Little Tour in L-eland," written "by an Oxonian," had 
the advantage of Leech's pencil, and by his friendship with 
that artist, as well as with Thackeray and others of the 
Staff, he was for a time identified in some measure with 
Punch itself, besides obtaining recognition as the beau-ideal 
of " the genial, jolly parson." That he did not become a 
regular contributor to the paper 'was due, it is believed, to a 
subsequent misunderstanding. 

In " Jack Easel," the writer of a number of delightful letters 
upon artistic and social topics at home and abroad, it is difficult 
to recognise Mr. Charles L. Eastlake, the able Keeper of the 
National Gallery. From 1859 to the autumn of 1862 Mr. 
Eastlake contributed eight-and-twenty articles of importance, 
one of them in verse, and the majority headed " Our Roving 
Correspondent." "Jack Easel on the Continent" and "The 
Royal Academy Exhibition " were the subjects of many of 
them, and their note was lively enough to cause his papers 
to be looked forward to by Punch's readers. 

Mr. Francis Cowley Burnand, when he first appeared 
in Punch, in 1863, was no mere recruit; he was a proved 
humorist, though of short standing, and his debut was an 
astonishing success. His debut, that is to say, as a Punch 
writer, for eight years previously he had sent up from Cam- 
bridge a couple of drawings which Leech had made artistically 
suitable for publication. 

Mr. Burnand was bom in 1837 — having been too gallant, 

* See p. 85. 

Mr. F. C. Burn and. 


it was said, to come into the world before his Queen had 
ascended the throne, and too loval and zealous to delay his 
appearance after she had taken her place. He was sent 
to Eton, where, however, he did not care much for football, 
beino^, as he expressed it, " more shinned against than shin- 
ning ; " and thence, at the 
age of seventeen, he went 
into Trinity College, Cam- 
bridge. In three years 
he had graduated and had 
founded the still flourish- 
ing " A.D.C. ; " at the 
same time, he determined 
to enter the Church. He 
placed himself under the 
Rev. H. P. (afterwards 
Canon) Liddon ; but soon 
left for the seminary of 
the Oblates of St. Charles, 
at Bayswater, the head of 
which was Dr. (Cardinal) 
Manning. While there his 
passion for play-writing 
was too strong to be re- 
sisted, and before he left 
Dr. Manning confessed 
that he feared his young friend had no " vocation," i.e. for the 
ecclesiastical state. Mr. Bumand, taking a wider view of the 
term, entirely acquiesced with Dr. Manning, and added rather 
timidly that he " thought he had a vocation for the stage." 
Dr. Manning raised his eyebrows, wrinkled his forehead, 
sniffed, and then said : " A ' vocation ' concerns the spiritual 
welfare. You cannot speak of * going on the stage ' as a 
' vocation.' You might as well call ' being a cobbler ' a 
' vocation.' " " Well, yes. Dr. Manning," rejoined Mr. Bur- 
nand very nervously ; " but — if I were a cobbler I should 
still have the cure of soles." 

An unsuccessful trial of the stage at Edinburgh, and a 

{From a Photograph by F. T. Painter, Ramsgate.) 

364 The History of ''Punch!' 

call to the Bar in 1862, indirectly shaped Mr. Burnand's 
career, and, throwing him into playwriting and humorous 
journalism, led him quickly into a talented circle. With Mr. 
W. S. Gilbert, H. J. Byron, Matt Morgan, Jeff Browse, and 
others, Mr. Burnand helped to strengthen Tom Hood's addi- 
tional staff of " Fun," then newly established, under the 
proprietorship of a looking-glass maker, named Maclean — 
whom, by reason of his expansive smile and shining teeth, 
Byron used to call " Maclean teeth." Mr. Burnand's fresh 
and bright productions sparkled on the pages and caught 
the eye of Mark Lemon ; but it was an unusually happy 
and original idea that was to bring the two men closely 
together. Mr. Burnand had conceived a series of burlesque 
stories, satirising the sensational style of the day, to be ac- 
companied by an equally burlesque imitation of the illus- 
trations that were to be seen in publications such as the 
"London Journal." To his own daughter, as ''one of his 
oldest friends," Mr. Burnand once confided the following 
facts and circumstances for publication : — 

" The astute proprietor of ' Fun,' in which I had achieved some 
success, observed that ' Mokeanna ' wouldn't do. I am not sure 
but that he was right ; but if he had been a literary editor he 
would have seen the idea in a rough copy, and would have 
suggested improvement. This good he did me, however— I read 
it to a friend, who thought some of it good and most of it the 
contrary, and so, in a temper, I burnt the entire manuscript, 
and, being quite sure of the humour of the idea, commenced re- 
writing it. Then I communicated with Mark Lemon ; he jumped 
at the idea — determined to say nothing to anybody, except those 
who had to illustrate it, and the first number of 'Mokeanna' 
appeared on February 21st, 1863, with an illustration by Sir 
John Gilbert, burlesquing his own style, whilst the page in 
Punch was, in arrangement, a facsimile of the ' London Journal.' 
The proprietors rushed down to the office, terrified with the 
thought that, by accident, the ' London Journal ' had been 
sewn up with Punchy and it took a lot of explanation in Mark 
Lemon's best manner to make them see the joke in its right 
light. The success of the experiment was immediate. Thackeray 
was supposed to have perpetrated the burlesque imitation, but 

The "New Boy." — ''Happy Thoughts." 365 

Thackeray knew nothing whatever about it, though, as 1 have 
since learnt, he was greatly tickled by it and, subsequently, was 
personally most kind to the ' New Boy,' as he called me, on 
the Punch Staff." 

The illusion was complete, and the fun most apt and 
full of spirit. The various artists (" Phiz," Charles Keene, 
Mr. du Maurier, and Sir John Millais) each drew a picture 
for it, in every case burlesquing his own style and trotting 
out his peculiarities. The public laughed heartily — first, at 
itself for having been deceived by the verisimilitude to the 
" London Journal," and then at the work upon its merits ; 
and " Mokeanna, or the White Witness " became the talk of 
the hour, and one of the good things of Punch. Charles 
Dickens was among those who most admired the execution 
of the jen d! esprit, and he displayed considerable interest 
in the writer. 

In due time ]\Ir. Burnand was called to the Table. " My 
first appearance," he tells me, "was at the Inn at Dulwich 
where Punch sometimes dined in the summer in those days. 
Thackera}' drove there,i and left early. He had come on 
purpose to be present on this occasion, and before quitting 
the room he paused, placed his hand on my shoulder, and 
said, 'Gentlemen, I congi-atulate you on the "New Boy!"' 
I felt, and probably looked, very hot and uncomfortably 
proud ; and then he shook me warmly by the hand." 

Mr. Burnand' s next success — a phenomenal success, too, 
on which his reputation as a humorist will stand unshaken — 
was " Happy Thoughts." For popularity and for immediate 
advantage to the paper this clever series, with its exquisite 
fooling and keen appreciation of humour, was second only 
to the "Caudle Curtain Lectures," and among the greatest 
hits that Punch has ever made. It has since been admir- 
ably translated into French by M. Aurelien de Courson under 
the title of " Fridoline ! " — " happy thought ! " being, how- 
ever, somewhat inadequately rendered " ingenieuse pensee ! " 
Then followed his imitations of popular writers — including 
" Strapmore," by " Weeder," and " One-and-three," by 
" Fictor Nogo" — "Happy Thought Hall," with illustrations 

366 The History of "Puxch." 

by himself, "More Happy Thoughts," "Out of Town," ani 
many others, which are still to be found on the bookstalls. 
His, too, was the song " His 'Art was true to Poll," which 
achieved so great a success when Mrs. John Wood intro- 
duced it into "My Milliner's Bill" many years after it first 
appeared in Punch. 

And in addition to the mass of work he has contributed 
to Punch, there are "The Incompleat Angler," "The New 
History of Sandford and Merton," " The Real Adventures of 
Robinson Crusoe," more than a hundred burlesques — beginning 
with his exceedingly popular perversion of Jerrold's " Black- 
Eyed Susan " — and a number of comedies and adaptations : 
a total ri^'alling, and in some cases surpassing, the industry 
of the most hard-working of his predecessors in PuncJi's 
editorial chair. Moreover, he has been a lecturer with 
"realistic notions," as he proved on the occasion when 
he was giving a public reading dealing with a yachting 
cruise, and, as he stood behind his reading-desk, stooped 
and rose with a regular maritime motion, relieved by an 
occasional roll, until the more susceptible among his 
audience began seriously to ask themselves if they were 
good enough sailors to sit out the reading to its ground- 
swell, breezy end. 

In August, 1880, after the death of Tom Taylor, Mr. 
Burnand, who had been acting-editor in his last illness, was 
called upon to take up the task of restoring to Punch its 
ancient reputation for liveliness and fun, and with a dinner 
to every contributor, outside as well as Staff, the proprietors 
inaugurated the new era. Mr. Burnand at once made great 
changes among the outside contributors, and introduced new 
blood upon the Staff. For himself, he showed his chief 
strength as a punster of extraordinar}- ability ; probably no 
one before him ever tied so many and such elaborate knots 
in his mother-tongue as he. " Mr. Burnand's puns are 
generally good, and sometimes very good," said a critic in 
the "Spectator;" "but they are really too plentiftil. . . . 
When it comes to be a question of a volume of four hundred 
pages, with an average of ten puns to a page, the reader is 

Tolerance and Humour. 367 

likely to suffer from an indigestion .... a cake that is all 
plums is likely to lie rather heavily on the person who eats 
it." But he was constrained to admit artistic merit in the 
humour of such passages as this : " There was a dead pause 
in the room. How long it had been there it was impossible 
to say, for it was only at this minute that the three became 
aware of it. And the Bishop sniffed uncomfortabl}-, as though 
there was something wrong with the drainage." 

But there was something of greater import brought in by 
Mr. Burnand's editorship than the literary tone. It was 
tolerance, political and religious, and wider sympathy than 
had lately been the case. The heavy political partisanship 
of Tom Taylor gave way to the more beneficent neutrality 
of Mr. Burnand — a personal neutrality, at least, even though 
Whig proclivities still coloured the cartoons to a certain, yet 
not unreasonable degree. And a larger religious tolerance 
and warmer magnanimity developed in Punch, such as comes 
chiefly from quarters where oppression has been known. 

So he who lias been called " the Commandant of the 
Household Brigade of British Mirth" has marched gaily 
along in Piuich's service for more than thirty years. 
Prodigal of his jokes, he sometimes makes the best of them 
outside the pages of his paper. Thus in Xovember, 1893, ^^ 
wrote to the press in contradiction of the statement made by 
a police-court prisoner named Burnand, that he was the brother 
of the editor of Punch : " I beg to say that I have no brother, 
and never had any brother. I have two half-brothers (this 
man is neither of them), but two half-brothers don't make 
one whole brother." And people chuckled as the little joke 
was copied from one paper to another all over the English- 
speaking world, and applauded the excellent quaintness of 
PuncK s Aristophanes. So, when a fictitious dinner of the 
Punch Staff at Lord Rothschild's was reported in the press, 
Mr. Burnand briefly dismissed the matter with the remark 
that the only dish was — canard. 

Again, in the autumn of 1894, ^^'hen he fell ill, alarming 
reports were spread. One of his colleagues on the Staff 
received a request for a column obituary notice of the dying 

368 The History of "Punch." 

man from the editor of a leading daily newspaper. But 
Mr. Burnand was much better, and was greatly cheered 
on learning the particulars. "Really," he said, "that's more 
than I expected. A column ! Wh}^, that's what they gave 
to Nelson and the Duke of York ! " 

Mr. J. Priestman Atkinson's literary achievements in 
Punch are spoken of in the chapter where "Dumb Crambo's" 
pictorial contributions are treated. From August, 1877, to 
October, 1880, they are frequent, and consist for the most 
part of fanciful verse accompanied by cuts from the same 
hand. There is a chamring prose story, however, in the 
Pocket-Book for 1879, seasonably entitled "The Invention 
of Roast Goose." But with Mr. Burnand' s editorship Mr. At- 
kinson's energies were exclusively concentrated on humorous 
sketches and " Dumb Crambo " eccentricities. 

In 1864 Islr. John Holhngshead — "Practical John" — 
was dramatic critic of the " Daily News." His notices at- 
tracted the attention of Shirley Brooks, with the result that 
he was invited to contribute to Punch. But it was in 1881 
that he was taken on the salaried outside Staff, writing for 
the paper for several years, chiefly on the subject of social 
reform. He is the inventor, to whom Londoners should be 
grateful, of" Mud-Salad Market" and the "Duke of Mudford; " 
and the " Gates of Gloomsbury," " The Seldom-at-Home 
Secretary," and " The Top of the Gaymarket," are also 
his. It was with his pen that Punch attacked so lustily 
our licensing system — or want of system ; and from him, too, 
came the burlesque " Schopenhauer Ballads," and other 
contributions, which, many of them, have been reprinted 
in "Footlights," "Plain Enghsh," and "Niagara Spray." 

In the same year came Mr. R. F. Sketchley, late 
Librarian of the Dyce and Forster collection in the South 
Kensington Museum, who was destined to become one of 
Punch's Staff officers. " I find," he writes, " that I became 
a contributor to Piaich in 1864. At the beginning of 1868 
I was honoured with an invitation from Mark Lemon to join 
the Table. I served also under his successors — Shirley Brooks, 
Tom Taylor, and Burnand ; and finally retired of my own 

Mr. R. F. Sketchley. — " Artemus PVard." 



(Fram a Photograph by Hills 
and Saunders^ Oxford.) 

accord in 1880. I have seen it stated that in an iUness of 
Shirley Brooks I did some of the ' Essence of Parhament.' 
If I had been called on to take up the pen of that most 
brilliant man of letters, I should have been in despair. All 
I did was to turn the Queen's Speech 
on the opening of Parliament into 

" I was never a prominent member 
of the Staff, but I am, and alwavs shall 
be, proud of having been connected with 
Punch. I wrote both prose and ^"erse 
— more of the former than the latter — 
and my contributions ranged in extent 
from a column down to a single line. 
]My subjects were generally ' topical,' 
sometimes ' imaginary,' and the verse 
included a good manv parodies." ]\Ir. 
Sketchley, it should be observed, is one 
of the few members of the inside Staff— at least, within the 
last fort}- years — who have ever resigned their appointments, 
Richard Doyle, ]\Ir. Henry Silver, and Mr. Harry Furniss 
being the others. His strong point was prose parody, the 
best, perhaps, being the quaint quasi-Gulliverian sketch called 
"A Fortnight in Sparsandria," which he contributed to Punch's 
Pocket-Book. Sober in judgment and wise in counsel, he was 
greatly missed when his genial companionship was lost to 
Punch's Knights of the Round Table. 

Passing over Mr. W. S. Gilbert's connection with the 
paper — which is described in the section devoted to arristic 
contributors — we find another humorist, equally distinguished, 
who identified himself with the paper the same year, 
Charles F. Browne, better known as " Artemus Ward." He 
had arrived in England early in the year, and soon after his 
arrival he was invited by Mark Lemon to contribute. Ward 
was at that time in tailing health, and, according to his 
secretary and manager 'Sir. Hingston, two or three of the 
papers produced in accordance with the understanding that 
was entered into were written with painful effort — the reason, 



The History of "Punch." 

no doubt, why so little of his usually rollicking humour is 
to be found in them. Nowadays many Americans profess to 
regard Punch with a sort of scornful amusement, and " Life," 
with an assumption of lofty disdain, is for ever sneering at 
it as a survival of the unfittest ; and the same line is taken 
in England by New Journalists and Newer Critics. Not that 

the New American Journalist was 
unknown in Ward's day. He had 
already declared that " Shakespeare 
wrote good plase, but he wouldn't 
have succeeded as the Washington 
correspondent of a New York daily 
paper. He lacked the reckisit fancy 
and imagination." Anyhow, he did 
not live so near to the Jin dc sieclc ; 
nor was he ashamed to own that for 
years it had been his pet ambition 
to write for the " London Charivari." 
Unhappily, its realisation came too 
late to permit him to do justice to 
his talent and his humour ; and he 
himself was only too conscious of his sad shortcoming,, or, 
rather, of his failing powers. Only eight papers had come 
from his hand when it closed in death. In September the 
first of his papers was published — " Personal Recollections ; " 
the last in November — "A Visit to the British Museum ; " they 
are garrulous and discursive, and a good deal of the humour 
they contain was repeated from earlier works. That they 
should have contained any at all, under the circumstances, is 
the wonder ; indeed, one is irresistibly reminded by them 
of his own humorous reference to one of the burlesque 
" pictures " illustrative of his '' Lecture." '' It is by the 
Old Masters," he said, in his quaint, sad way; "it is the 
last thing they did before dying. They did this, and then 
they died." 

It is, indeed, curious how many of Punch's most valued 
contributors were working for the paper up to within a few 
hours, a few minutes, of being called away — Jerrold, Thomas 


(From a Photograph by S. A, 

Sa vile Clarke. — Locker-Lampson. 



(_Fro7ii a Photograph by the 
Woodhiirytypc: Company.) 

Hood, C. H. Bennett, John Leech, Shirley Brooks, and Artemus 
Ward ; and many a time have the pubhc hiughed aloud at 
jokes and pictures wrought when the hand was stiffening in 
death, when the brain that had imagined them had already 
ceased to think. 

H. Sa\'ile Clarke, previously a 
" Fun " contributor, and a disciple of 
James Hannay, made his Punch debut 
with a set of verses in August, 1867 ; 
but he did not follow them up, except 
in a very small way, until Mr. Bur- 
nand's editorship, in 1880, encouraged 
him to write regularly. This he soon 
began to do, his main work being 
Society verse, mosth* bearing on medi- 
cal and scientific subjects, for he was 
brought up as a doctor. " Songs of the 
Sciences," " Lyrics in a Library " (verse 
on books), verse on the minor picture exhibitions, clever trilies 
hke the "Carmen Culinarium " (December, 189 1), and the 
important and strikingly able and successful parod\-, " Modern 
Life in London, or Tom and Jerry Back Again," illustrated 
by Mr. Priestman Atkinson — these formed the staple of his. 
Punch work. But he was not enthusiastic about writing for 
the paper, as the chance of gaining reputation by unsigned 
contributions was very small. " I feel strongly," he wrote 
to me vears ago, " as many writers do on the paper, as to 
the inequality of authors and artists. It keeps very good 
men off it." 

" Berkelev Square, 5 p.m." was a poem of five stanzas that 
fomied Frederick Locker - Lampson's sole contribution to 
Punch ; it was published at the same time as Savile Clarke's 
maiden effort (August, 1867), and was illustrated by Mr. du 
Maurier. It was Locker-Lampson, it may here be mentioned, 
who sent in C. S. Calverley's ewe-lamb — a charade — to 
Punch's pages. 

On the 25th of July, 1868, a lady-contributor made her 
debut in Punch's pages. This was Miss M. Betham-Edwards, 
Y 2 

372 The History of "Punch." 

who was already well known as the authoress of " A Winter 
with the Swallows," and whose travel " Through Spain to 
the Sahara/' dealing with much the same scene, was then 
expected from the press. In the earlier part of the year a 
friend had shown to Mark Lemon a clever skit by the 
young lady, and the Editor forthwith commissioned her to 
write a series of papers to be called "Mrs. Punch's Letters 
to her Daughter" — a sort of belated sequel to Jerrold's 
"Punch's Letters to his Son." These letters, which ran 
through six numbers — the last in November 7th of the same 
year^ — are contributions of the worldly-wise order, cvnical, 
satirical, and shrewd. Two years later Mark Lemon died, 
and Miss Betham-Edwards dropped out of the outside Staff 
position which she was by courtesy supposed to occupy. 
Certain contributions she sent in were returned ; she took 
the hint, and the connection was severed. 

It was about this time that Mr. du Maurier wrote his 
admirable "Vers Xonsensiques," and proved the literary talent 
which he afterwards displayed in so striking a manner in his 
lecture on "Social Satire" and in his novels. But, as has 
already been pointed out in several other cases, he is not by any 
means alone in having used both pen and pencil in the paper. 
Thackerav is the principal example of the twin-talent ; but 
others, in very various degi'ees, are Cuthbert Bede, Watts 
Phillips, Thomas Hood (a single cut, and a wonderful one, too), 
Richard Doyle (a single contribution), John MacGregor, with 
Sir John Tenniel, and Messrs. Alfred Thompson, Ashby-Sterry, 
W. S. Gilbert, W. Ralston (one literary effort), J. Priestman 
Atkinson, J. H. Roberts (one poem), Harry Furniss (a dramatic 
criticism), and Arthur A. Sykes. As a rule, however, artist 
and author has kept strictly within his own field, although a 
bold experiment of a curious kind was once proposed. On 
that occasion the literary Staff had been complaining, with 
malicious frankness, that the drawings in a certain issue — (it 
is not necessary to particularise) — were not up to the mark. 
They were at once challenged by the artists, who declared that 
they would strike — that tJiey would do the text, and allow the 
literary men to do the pictures. The idea was seized upon ; the 

Mr. Alfred P. Graves. 373 

result, thev thought, would be screamingly funii}-. But the 
Editor would not hear of it ; he imagined, not without reason, 
that the public, who would be called upon (but would probably 
decline) to pay, would not see the point of the joke. Years 
after a similar discussion arose ; and those who heard it are not 
likelv to forget the mock-philosophic-gastronomic blank verse 
composed hx 'Six. Sambourne on the spur of the moment just 
to illustrate how xqxx easy cle\'er verse-writing really is. 

Whilst Punch has been greatly indebted for much of its 
humour to Scotsmen, several Irishmen also have contributed 
not a little to its success. Mr. Alfred Perceval Graves is one of 
these, although it is long since he wrote for the paper. " I con- 
tributed to Punch," he says, '' during Shirley Brooks's editor- 
ship. Tom Taylor was then secretary to the Local Government 
Board, and I was private secretary to the Parliamentary Under 
Secretary for the Home Office, Mr. Winterbotham. Meeting on 
business, we struck up a friendly acquaintance, and. Punch being 
then a close borough, Taylor smuggled in verses and jokes of 
mine for a while, till he thought I had established a claim to 
introduction to Shirley Brooks. My work onh' went on from 
1 87 1 to 1874, as I became so engaged on literary work of a 
severer kind, and educational work as an Inspector of Schools, 
that I had not time for Punch ; and when I cared to return 
to it Taylor had gone, and the present Editor was surrounded 
bv fresh men, so I ha^'e not resumed my connection with it." 

Mr. Graves— the author of the popular "Father O'Flynn," 
perhaps the best of all his Irish songs — wrote for Punch " The 
Tea-Table Tragedy," "The Ballad of the Babes in the Wood," 
and those admirable " Lines of Farewell to the Irish Humorist, 
Baron Dowse, on leaving the House of Commons" — 

" Dick Dowse, Dick Dowse, 
Is it lavin' the House ? " 

Then there is " On St. Patrick's Day falling on a Sunday," 
and in Punch's Pocket-Book the lines on "A Frog," and "A 
Cauliflower" — a parody of "The green, immortal Shamrock." 
But another merit in Mr. Graves was his coaching of Charles 
Keene on the subject of his Irish jokes, for which the former 

374 The History of "Punch." 

was greatly responsible in the years of his Punch con- 

Nursery jingles newly adapted and applied to the morals 
and manners of the day are always a favourite vehicle of 
satire with the public, and have been freely used b}- pro- 
fessional humorists. Punch offers many instances of happy 
examples of the work. The first of a long series of " Nursery 
Rhymes for the Times" was begun by Mr. Charles Smith 
Cheltnam on January 9th, 1875, as well as in the Almanac 
of the same year. The writer forthwith became a busy 
contributor. About fifty of these rhymes appeared in Punch 
in quick succession, and there were many other pieces besides. 
"The Infallible Truth," a comment in verse on the passage 
at arms which was then (November 13th, 1875) taking place 
between Lord Redesdale and Dr. Manning on the subject of 
infallibility, showed that Punch's "papal aggression" was still 
rankling in his bosom. Mr. Cheltnam remained a contributor 
until the death of Tom Taylor, when he transfen^ed his pen 
to the service of " Fun." 

On April ist, 1872, the Rev. F. D. Maurice died, and 
PuncJi contained a set of verses to his memory, in which the 
beauty and the strength of his character were set forth with 
deep sympathy, and not without power or poetical thought. 
They weie fi-om the hand of the Re^-. Stainton Moses, of 
Exeter College, Oxford, for seventeen years an assistant 
master at the University College School. He was the editor 
of the leading London organ of Spiritualism. The more 
ribald of his pupils and acquaintance declared that his 
spiritualism was of another sort ; but there is no doubt that 
he was very popular with all men, and exercised gi-eat 
influence among the faithful. 

Eighteen years after the death of Gilbert Abbott a Beckett, 
his son, Arthur W. a Beckett, restored the family name to 
Punch's Staff. He had been nominated to the War Office 
by Lord Palmerston, but he soon found that he could walk 
in no other path but that which his father had trodden. 
Like him, he became an editor at twenty, by assuming for 
a space the direction, relinquished by Mr. F. C. Burnand, 

Mr. Arthur ^ Beckett. 

T «7 r 

of an evening paper called the "Glow-Worm" — whose light, 
after Mr. a Beckett left it, steadily reftised to burn with the 
requisite effulgence. ]\Iark Lemon was then approached ; but 
he would have nothing to say to — or, rather, nothing to do 
with — the sons of his old friend, who thereupon sought else- 
where the encouragement the}" had hoped for in Punch s 
show. ]Mr. Arthur a Beckett started a satirico-humorous 
paper of great ability and promise, the 
staff including himself and his brother, 
Matt Morgan, Frederick Clay, and 
Frank Marshall, with ]\Iessrs. Alfred 
Thompson, Austin, T. G. Bowles, and 
T. H. Escott — most of them Civil 
Servants. But in the full tide of its 
success its financial foundations were 
weakened by one in the managerial 
department, and the whole thing 
came to the ground. After a few 
vears of an active journalistic career 
he was invited by Tom Taylor, 
who had succeeded to the command, to contribute to 
Punch. A curious success attended his opening chapters. 
His first paper on a '' Pubhc Office" fp. 226, Vol. LXVI.;, 
as well as the tweh-e following — that is to say, his con- 
tributions to thirteen consecutive numbers — were all of them 
quoted in the "Times," though whether or not through 
Taylor's intermediar}' did not appear. After the fourth 
number 'Mr. a Beckett was put on the salaried Staff, and 
in August, 1875, was imited to join the Table. Since Mr. 
Burnand's promotion to the editorship Mr. a Beckett has 
acted as his locum tenens, just as Shirley Brooks did to 
Lemon, and Percival Leigh to Brooks. 

Being called to the Bar in 1881, Mr. a Beckett was 
enabled to re\'ive the humours of his father's " ]Mr. Briefless," 
by the filial creation of the happily-named " A. Briefless, 
Junior." The " Papers from Pump Handle Court " from this 
self-sufficient, inflated, and utterly hopeless Junior, have been 
a feature in Punch for years past, and by them the author 


(Front a Photograph by A. 
Bassano, Limited.) 

376 The History of ''Punch!' 

has — so says an expert — "charmingly illuminated the legal 
profession bv his queer fancy." One of the best papers in 
the collection is an account of a visit to the studio of a well- 
known firm of West-End photographers in the character of a 
legal celebrity, which is wittil}' called " A ^Matter in Camera." 
Up to December, 1894, he had contributed to a thousand 
and eighty consecutive numbers, his work including many 
" series," besides the usual topical subject-articles. 

^Mortimer Collins became an occasional, and by no means a 
prolific, contributor of verse from the year 1874. The sonnet 
in Punch on p. 2^1, Vol. XI. (December, 1846), has been 
ascribed to him, but there is no ground for the statement (he 
would then have been only nineteen years of age), nor did he 
contribute otherwise than from 1874 to 1876. His light lyric 
touch mav be traced in man}- a poem. In " Where shall we 
go?" (p. 105. Vol. LXIX., September nth, 1875) his dainty 
pen is to be recognised ; as in " Lady Psyche's Garden Party," 
and various other verses of similar style and pleasant flavour. 
The attack on Mr. Whalley and " Crede Byron " (July 20th, 
1875) are his, and the verses on the Burnham Beeches, and, 
in September, " Causidicus ad Canem." The charming " Son- 
nets for the Sex" (June 17th, 1876) and, on July 8th, the 
humorous prose in praise of goose-quill and sealing-wax, 
entitled '' Mr. Oldfangle's Opinion," were full of pleasing 
turns of thought — little presaging the writer's death three 
weeks later. When he died, Punch contained an obituar)" 
notice of the writer (p. 57, Vol. LXXI., August 12th, 1876), 
in which it is said, " He wrote the ' Secret of Long Life,' 
to teach men to live a century, and himself died at forty- 
nine." He was in this respect a curious echo of Thomas 
Walker, who wrote his "Art of Attaining High Health" in 
his paper "The Original," and did not survive the completion 
of his task ; and the prototype of the Duke of ^Marlborough, 
who died while engaged on an essay on the "Art of Living" 
for the " Nineteenth Century." Had he lived, he would 
certainly have been promoted to the Staff; and the fact that 
his funeral was ofificiallv attended by Tom Ta^-lor, Percival 
Leigh, and Mr. Arthur a Beckett, on behalf of Punchy is 

Mr. E. J. MiLLiKEN. i-j-j 

testimony of the respect in which his co-operation was 

The hterar}' post on Punch which corresjxjnds with that 
of Chief Cartoonist has for years past been occupied b}' Mr. 
Edwin J. Milhken. The position is an onerous one, and carries 
great responsibihty with it. He who fills it is at once " the 
Puncli Poet" par excellence and the big drum, so to speak, 
of the political orchestra. For many years Mr. Milliken 
has written the letterpress explanatory of the Cartoon, either 
in verse or prose, as well as the preface to each succeeding 
volume. To his pen, too, we have owed during the same 
period those verses which it has been the graceful practice 
of Punch to de^'ote to the memory of distinguished men. 
Remarkable for their tact, dignity, and good-sense — instinct 
with lofty thought and deep feeling — these poems are often 
masterpieces of their kind, models of taste and generous 
sympath}'. In particular, those published upon the deaths 
of Lord Beaconsfield, John Bright, and Lord Tennyson, mav 
be remembered as worth)^ of the men they were designed 
to honour, ag well as for the felicity with which they 
set down what was in the heart of the nation, and the 
eloquence with which its sentiment was expressed. 

On January 2nd, 1875, there appeared in Punch some 
lines entitled "A Voice from Venus," the planet's transit 
having at that time just occurred. They were Mr. ]\Iilliken's 
first contribution — a bow drawn at a venture — for he was 
entirely unknown to anyone connected with the paper. 
Tom Taylor asked for a guarantee of the originality of the 
verses — in itself a flattering distrust — and, receiving the 
necessary assurance, printed them forthwith. From that time 
forward the young writer contributed with regularity-, and 
for two years was put severely through his paces bv the 
Editor, who, in order to '' tr}^ his hand," as he said, gave 
him every sort of work to do. Then came a personal inter- 
view of a gratulatory nature, in which Taylor promised to invite 
Mr. Milliken to the Table as soon as a vacancy occurred. At 
the end of the second year of probation this promise was ful- 
filled, and early in 1877 " E. J. M." cut his initials on the board. 



The History of ''Punch!' 

It is worthy of remark that the successful career of Mr. 
Milhken is in direct opposition to his training, for he began 
hfe, much against his will, as a man of business in a great 
engineering firm. But literature was his goal, and the appre- 
ciation of the editors of a few magazines and journals to some 
extent satisfied his ambition. In point of fact, Mr. Milliken, 
in respect to his work, is the most modest and retiring of 

men ; and the only contribution to which 
his name appeared, for years before or 
after, was the set of memorial verses to 
Charles Dickens which were printed in 
the "Gentleman's Magazine" in 1870. 

Without a doubt "The 'Any Papers" 
are the most popular and best known 
of Mr. ]\Iilliken's contributions, although 
" Childe Chappie's Pilgrimage," "The 
Modern Ars Amandi " (1883), "The 
Town " (1884), " Fitzdotterel ; or. 
T'other and Which " (a parody of 
Lord Lytton's " Glenaveril "), 1885; 
"Untiled; or, the Modern Asmodeus " (1889-90), and "The 
Xew Guide to Knowleds^e," have successivelv loomed lar^e 
in Punch's firmament. But it is the great creation of 'Arry 
for which Mr. Milliken is most applauded — and least under- 
stood. It is generallv supposed that the 'Arry of Mr. 
Milliken corresponds to the similar character conceived by 
Charles Keene and INIr. Anstey. But the author means him 
for a great deal mpre. 'Arry with him is not so much a 
personage as a type — as much an impersonal symbol as 
Mr. Watts's Love, or Death, or other quality, passion, or fate, 
without individuality and, in spirit at least, without sex. 

It is often suggested that ]Mr. Milliken's 'Arrv is the 
survival — or, at least, the descendant — of the "gent" of Leech 
and the "snob" of Thackeray and Albert Smith. He is 
nothing of the sort. The gent and the snob had at least this 
merit ; the}' aspired, or imagined themselves, to be something 
more and better than they reall}' were. But 'Arry is a self- 
declared cad, without either hope or desire, or even thought, 


[From a Photograpli by 
Messrs. Bassano.) 

Crea tion of '"Arrv." 379 

of redemption. Self-sufficient, brazen, and unblushing in his 
irrepressible \iilgarity, blatant and unashamed, he is distin- 
guished by a sort of good-humour that is as rampant and as 
offensive as his swaggering selfishness, his arrogant familiarity 
and effrontery, and his sensuous sentiment. He is a 
mean-souled and cynical camp-follower of the army of King 
Demos, every day expanding, every day more objection- 
able in his insolent assurance. Originally designed as an 
illustration of the 'Arryism of the rougher classes, then 
promoted to be characteristic of the low sort of sliop- 
lad and still lower kind of mechanic " with views " of a 
clear-cut kind within the narrow limits of his materialistic 
philosoph}^ he has developed into a t}'pe of character — 
almost, indeed, into a t5'pe of humanit}'. And as 'Arryism 
is rife in every walk of society, so 'Arry's experiences have 
become more informed, but not for that reason more culti- 
vated or more refined. And therein lies the one inevitably 
weak point of Mr. Milliken's invention. Like Frankenstein, 
he seems to have created a Monster, who has outgrown the 
purpose he was originally intended to serve. For when he 
finds himself considering the 'Arryism of the "upper classes," 
he is bound, by his otherwise admirable convention, to retain 
the Cockney slang of which he is such a master, even 
though the speaker is supposed to have advanced so far in 
his views and knowledge of life as to be able to discuss 
matters of art, science, and literature. For, be it observed, 
a bank-'oliday at the Welsh 'Arp, "wich is down 'Endon wy," 
is no longer a spree for him, however uproarious the "shindy," 
and however ready his " gal " may be to sit on his knee 
and "-change 'ats " to the accompaniment of cornet and con- 
certina. He travels — on the cheap, of course — but still he 
travels, and discusses Venus of ]\Iilo, and 'Igh Art, and the 
philosophic questions of the " dy," and resolves all his medita- 
tions into the " motter " that " Socierty's all right." Without 
soul, without ideality, without aspiration, save of the baser 
sort, he represents no good quality nor redeeming virtue but 
physical health — the promise, it may at least be hoped, of a 
posterity that in the future, perchance, may justif\' his existence. 

380 The History of "Punch:' 

He is the raw, the offensively raw, material from which 
respectable and useful descendants may eventually be made. 
At present Mr. ]\Iilliken shows the 'Arryism that is per- 
meating and fouling all classes, almost to the highest ; but there 
the convention fails — only because it is a convention — for 
'Arrv is made to fill the part which has more recently, and 
perhaps with greater fitness, been accorded to the Bounder.* 
But, apart from the satirical creation, Arry is a most 
amusing personage — his forms of speech, the quaint turns of 
his vulgar thought, being in themselves irresistibly laughable — 
their grossness merged in their genuine humour, and in the art 
so well concealed. 'Arry alone has stamped ^Ir. ]\Iilliken 
as a satirical humorist of the fi^ont rank, and has gone far 
towards making the public forget his other phase — the grace- 
ful and sympathetic poet. The philologists, too, proclaim 
their debt of gi^atitude to the author as the most complete 
collector of modern English slang, with suitable context and 
situation. Dr. Murray's great " Xew English Dictionary " 
accepts 'Arrv as a name " used humorously for : A low-bred 

* I have been fortunate in ascertaining Mr. Milliken's own estimate of 
'Arry in a prit^ate letter to a friend. Although it was not written for publication, 
I have received permission to quote the following sentences : — 

" 'Arry — as you say — the essential Cad, is really appalling. He is not a 
creature to be laughed at or with. My main purpose was satirical— an 
analysis of and an attack on the spirit of Caddishncss, rampant in our days in 
many grades of life, coarse, corrupting, revolting in all. I might have con- 
fined myself to the ' Humours of 'Arry,' when my work would have been 
more genial, and, to many, more attractive. But then I should have missed 
my mark. On the other hand, I might hav-e made it a more realistic study, 
but then I should have got very few readers, and certainly no place in the 
Flinch pages. So it was a compromise ; not a consistent study of an individual 
Cad, but of the various characteristics of Caddishness. It has been said 
that an ordinary cad could not have done or said or known all that my 'Arry 
did. Quite true, quite well known to me while writing ; and indeed I forestalled 

the objection in the preface of the book As to 'Arry's origin, and 

the way in which I studied him, I have mingled much with working men, 
shop-lads, and would-be smart and ' snide ' clerks — who plume themselves on 
their mastery of slang and their general "cuteness and ' leariness.' I have 
watched, listened, and studied for years ' from the life,' and I fancy I've a 
good memory for slang phrases of all sorts; and my 'Arry 'slang,' as I have 
said, is very varied, and not scientific, though most of it I have heard 
from the lips of street-boy, Bank-holiday youth, coster, cheap clerk, counter- 
jumper, bar-lounger, cheap excursionist, smoking-concert devotee, tenth-rate 
suburban singer, music hall 'pro' or his admirer," etc. etc. 



fellow (who drops his Jis) of lively temper and manners," 
and quotes " 'Arry on 'Orseback " in Punch's Almanac for 
1874 as his debut in print. And, finally, Herr C. Stoffel, of 
Nijmegen, has publislied a philological volume on the " 'Arr}- 
Letters" in Punch, from 1883 to 1889, examining the cant 
words with the utmost elaboration, gravity, and knowledge, 
and producing one of the most valuable treatises on the 
subject that have hitherto been published. 

In addition to the work already indicated, Mr. Milliken 
(as shown in the chapter on cartoons) devotes a great deal 
of attention to the devising of Mr. Punch's ''big cuts," both 
for Sir John Tenniel and Mr. Linley Sambourne. The 
Almanac double-page cartoons, too — usually \ery elaborate 
designs — have been planned b}- him for a good many years, 
as well as most of Mr. Sambourne's fanciful calendars and 
"months" in the Almanacs. It will thus be seen that — with 
all his work in prose and ^•erse, from a paragraph to a 
preface, and from a series to an epigram — Mr. Milliken 
is Writer-of- all-work and "General Utility" in the best sense ; 
and a more loyal and devoted servant 
Punch has never had. 

Alfred Thompson's work, which 
began in 1876, is considered with that 
of Punch's artists. Then came Gilbert 
Arthur a Beckett, who after a short 
spell of regular work was summoned 
to tlie Table. His first contribution 
had, in fact, been published by 'Shirk 
Lemon, but immediatelv afterwards 
that Editor treated him just as he had 
treated his brother ; and not for 
some years did he receive the call. 
Tom Taylor it was who, attracted b>' 
the quality of the work which the 
elsewhere, sent the coveted invitation.* 


{From a Fhotograph by 
Messrs. Bassatw.) 

brothers were doing 
In 1879 — five years 

* Connection with Punch has run strangely in families— as the reader may 
see by reference to the "Family Trees" on the next page. 


The History of "Punch." 
















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Gilbert a Beckett. 383 

after his brother Arthur — Gilbert k Beckett joined the salaried 
Staff, and three }-ears later he was appointed to the Table. 
He had a ^•ery quaint humour and a wonderfulh' quick and 
startling sense of the incongruous. He was sadl)' hampered 
by his affliction, but he was an accomplished, high-principled, 
sensitive fellow, of whom one of his companions declared that 
" he was the purest-minded man I ever knew." Under more 
favourable conditions of health he would probably have made 
a greater mark ; but as it was, he did good work. He was 
a happy parodist, and a very neat and smart versifier — at the 
age of fifteen he had gained the prize for English verse at 
Westminster, which was open to the whole school — and in 
the wildly absurd vet laughable vein of his bogus advertise- 
ments (of which he did many under the head of " How we 
Advertise Xow " — a continuation of Jerrold's earlv idea) 
none of his Punch brethren could touch him. He was, 
perhaps, best known to the world as part author of the 
famous political burlesque of ''The Happy Land;-" less, 
perhaps, as part author of "The White Pilgrim;" and least of 
all as a musical composer, as it was under the pseudonym of 
"Vivian Bligh" that he put forth his songs and his music 
for the " German Reeds' Entertainment." But his work on 
Punch was always relished, and, considering his sad physical 
afflictions, he held his own on the Staff. He contributed 
both prose and verse, smart and apt of their kind. He 
wrote — in part, at least — the admirable parodv of a bov's 
sensational shocker (p. 119, Vol. LXXXH., March nth, 
1882). With the exception of this and the comical "Ad- 
vertisements" he did very few "series," but his contribu- 
tions were always varied and excellent in their wav, 
and himself appreciated as a useful and clever man. Per- 
haps his chief claim to recollection was his suggestion, as 
explained elsewhere, of the famous cartoon of " Dropping 
the Pilot." The Dinners were his greatest pleasure, and 
he attended them with regularity, although the paralysis of 
the legs — the result of falling down the stairway of Gower 
Street Station — from which he suffered (in common with 
his uncle Sir William a Beckett, and with one of the 

384 The History of " Puxch!' 

Mayhew brothers as well) rendered his locomotion and 
the mounting of Mr. Punch's stairway a matter of painful 
exertion. Although he did useful work for Punch, he never 
became a known popular favourite ; yet when he died — on 
October 15th, 1891 — a chorus of unanimous regret arose in 
the press^ for he was one of those few men who count none 
but friends among their wide circle of acquaintance. 

Mr. Horace Frank Lester, late of Oxford University, 
afterwards barrister-at-law, author and journalist of the first 
rank, but at that time unknown to PuncJi, first appeared on 
January 5th, 1878, with a slashing satire on busybody amateur 
statesmen which greatly tickled Tom Ta3dor's fanc}'. But 
his first real hit was in September, 1880, with a form of 
contribution then comparatively new. It was a '' Diarv of 
the Premier at Sea," when Mr. Gladstone was on board the 
Graniully Castle, and, so far from " husbanding his energies," 
as his doctor directed, was supposed to receive deputations, 
make speeches, convert the man-at-the-wheel from Toryism, 
and try to cut down the mainmast with his axe. Then fol- 
lowed political diaries, parodies (such as " ' The Entire History 
of Our Own Times ' bv Jestin ^lachearty," and innumerable 
poems), comic Latin verse, " Journal of a Rolling Stone," 
"Advice Gratis," "Queer Queries," legal skits, and so on. 
An amusing incident occurred in respect to one of the 
"Advice Gratis " series. Mr. Lester had spoken of a mythical 
book called " Etiquette for the Million : or, How to Behave 
Like a Gentleman on Nothing a Year, piiblisJicd at t/iis 
Offtccy A corporal stationed at Gal way Barracks wrote and 
asked for the price of it, " as I am extremely anxious to have 
the book referred to." Mr. Burnand's reply was simply, 
" Sold!' 



PUNCH'S WRITERS: 1880-94. 

Robert" — Mr. Deputy Bedford — Mr. Ashby-Sterry — Reginald Shirley 
Brooks — Mr. George Augustus Sala — ^Ir. Clement Scott — The "Times" 
Approves — Mr. H. W. Lucy — "Toby, M.P." — Martin Tupper and Edmund 
Yates — ]\Ir. George Grossmith — Mr. Weedon Grossmith — Mr. Andrew Lang's 
"Confessions of a Duffer" — Miss ^lay Kendall — Miss Burnand — Lady 
Humorists — ^Ir. Brandon Thomas and Mr. Gladstone — Mr. Warham St. 
Leger — Mr. Anstey — "Modern Music-hall Songs" — "Voces Populi" — Mr. 
R. C. Lehmann — 'Slv. Barry Pain — ?klr. H. P. Stephens — Mr. Charles Geake 
—Mr. Gerald Campbell— R. F. Murray — Mr. George Davis — Mr. Arthur 
A. Sykes — Rev. Anthony C. Deane — Mr. Owen Seaman — Lady Campbell — 
Mr. James Payn— Mr. H. D. Traill— Mr. A. Armitage— Mr. Hosack — 
Arthur Sketchley — Henry J. Byron — Punch's Literature Considered. 

" Robert, the City waiter " made his 
low-comedv bow in 18S0. "Robert's" 
literary father is Mr. Deputy John T. 
Bedford, whose opportunities for studying 
the wavs of the Citv waiter have neces- 
sarily been manv and excellent. The 
result of his keen observation was intro- 
duced to Punch through chance. " My 
introduction to Punch," Mr. Bedford in- 
forms me, " arose from the quite acci- 
dental circumstance that ^Ir. Burnand 
and myself were introduced at the same 
time, by Mr. F. Gordon, on the director- 
ship of the ' Grand Hotel ' at Charing Cross ; and very 
shortly afterwards ... on the appointment of Mr. Burnand 
as Mr, Tom Taylor's successor, I ventured to congratulate 
him, when he said to me, ' If anv fun is to be found in 
the City, I shall expect you to bring it to me.' I replied 
that I had sometimes thought that there was some to 
be got out of a City waiter, as waiters were not quite so deaf 
as was generally considered. I tried my hand, and my first 
attempt was very kindly received ; it was printed on p. 64, 


{From a Photograph by 
E. J . Stoneha7n.) 


The History of "Punch." 

Vol. LXXIX. (August 14th, 1880;, under the title of 'Notes 
from the Diary of a City Waiter.' . . . There is no truth in the 
statement that Robert was based upon a certain waiter. He is 
certainly imaginary" — a statement which disposes of the asser- 
tion that the famous old "Cock Tavern " is famous nowadays 
for the original of "Robert" in the person of its head-waiter. 
Since 1880 Mr. Deputy Bedford is to be credited with more 
than two hundred contributions, of which, however, only a 
proportion belong to the " Robert " series. " You will find some 
of them," writes Mr. Bedford, " signed J. Litgue, a iiotn de phmie 
that puzzled Mr. Burnand himself, until I revealed the secret 
that it was French for 'Bed-ford'; and he, with his excellent 
knowledge of French, was thoroughly sold." "Robert" has 
been republished in book form, and has attained an extra- 
ordinary circulation, though some of Mr. Bedford's critics have 
declared that the chief attraction has been the admirable 
illustrations by Charles Keene with which the little book 
is embellished. For severe critics there are ; one of whom, 
in order to prove that " Robert" was not a humorous creation 
at all, took the curious course of translating one of his articles 
into good, well-spelt English, and then triumphantly asking — 
" Where is the humour now ? " 

A complete contrast to Mr. Bedford 

became a contributor to Punch a fort- 

j^t/tfj/flk night after him — Mr. J. Ashby-Sterry. 

^H^^H Twenty-nine years had passed since 

^^QPPHBjl his boyish drawings had been ac- 

<^Jf cepted ; and during the interval he 

had relinquished the pencil for the 
pen, had become a well-known jour- 
nalist, and the author of sundry volumes 
of light literature. He was one of the 
first to be summoned b}- the new 
Editor, and he responded nobly to the 
call. Since August 28th, 1880, he has 
contributed as largely as any outsider 
to Punch's pages. Innumerable picture-shows, new books, 
articles of all kinds, and countless verses of every description 


{From a Photograph by Samuel 
A. Walker.-) 

Reginald Brooks. — Mr. G. A. Sala. 387 

on every possible topic, with paragraphs long and short, are, 
so to speak, the hors d'omvres of his contribution. Many 
series of poems and papers are his, of which the best-known 
is that of the "Lays of a Lazy Minstrel " (begun August 28th, 
1880), with their riverside idylls and love-carols ; but to his 
hand also are to be credited " Simple Stories for Little Gentle- 
folk," " Holiday Haunts, by Jingle Junior on the Jaunt," " Club 
Carols," "Uncle Bulger's Moral Tales," "Songs of the Streets," 
" Rambling Rondeaux," and " Paper-knife Poems." But it is 
his fluent, melodious, and unpretentious verse that has made 
him popular in Punch. 

Reginald Shirlev Brooks, the son of Mr. Burnand's brilliant 
predecessor, was working for Punch in 1880, and the following 
year he was called to the Table, and remained there without 
much distinction until 1884. He wrote some smart papers, but 
his groove was not that of the sober and respectable Fleet 
Street Sage. He preferred wilder spirits, and he accordingly 
retired, taking with him the sympathy of his companions. 
He died soon after. 

After the escapade of Mr. George Augustus Sala in respect 
to Alfred Bunn's quarrel with Punch and the resultant " Word 
with Punch" of half a centurs' ago (which was illustrated by 
Mr. Sala's lively pencil, as is explained in another chapter), none 
would ever have thought that his pen would have been driven 
in Punch's service. Lemon had declared him a "graceless 
young whelp," and nothing that Mr. Sala ever cared to do had 
tended to change that opinion. Shirley Brooks and Tom Taylor 
carried on the sentiment as a sort of dynastic vendetta, and 
Mr. Sala's name was kept on Punch's Lidex Expurgatorius 
until the accession of Mr. Burnand. Punch was then no longer 
the close borough, and the new Editor sought talent where he 
could find it. Lie invited Mr. Sala to contribute, and the 
invitation has been responded to whenever anything " Punchy " 
has occurred to the writer — as in the rhymed travesty of Tenny- 
son's opening verses of "The Princess." It is an amusing fact 
that on one occasion Mr. Sala contributed a skit on himself 
— fehcitously entitled ''Egos of the Week"— with the startling 
and satisfactory result that one or two papers, taking the 
z 2 

388 The History of ''Punch." 

thing au sc'riciix, commented on the fact, and expressed their 
pleasure that " at last Mr. George Augustus Sala has had the 
drubbing by Punch he has so long and so richly deserved " ! 

Mr. Clement Scott, the doyen of the dramatic critics. Civil 
Servant (like so many of the Punch Staff), member of the 
clever band that nurtured "Fun" into life, and brother-in-law of 
Mr. du Maurier, also had to wait till Mr. Burnand was Editor 
before he was given the opportunity to write for Punch. " It 
struck him," writes Mr, Scott, " that he might mingle among 
the essentially comic .pages an occasional poem that might ven- 
tilate some grievance in a pathetic manner or describe some 
heroic subject in the ballad style. . . . The first subject Burnand 
sent me was the overworked and underpaid clerks in London. 
It took my fancy, and in three hours after I received his letter I 
sent him ' The Cry of the Clerk ! ' To my intense surprise, 
the morning after it appeared in Punch I found it quoted in 
extenso in ' The Times '^an unusual honour. I believe Dr. 
Chinery the instant he read the poem clipped it out with his 
own scissors and said, ' I don't know if this has ever been done 
before, but we must quote the poem to-morrow morning.' The 
sub-editor was aghast, but the poem was printed as from Punch." 

These verses, indeed, struck people's consciences, as Thomas 
Hood had struck them years ago with "The Song of the 
Shirt." It brought into relief the enforced "respectability" 
of the men who earn but a few shillings a week, and yet are 
supposed to be "above charity." 

It was the last verse that most struck home : — 

" Why did I marry ? In mercy's name, in the form of my brother 
was I not born ? 

Are wife and child to be given to him, and love to be taken 
from me with scorn ? 

It is not for them that I plead, for theirs are the only voices 
that break my sorrow, 

That lighten my pathway, make me pause 'twixt the sad to- 
day and grim to-morrow. 

The Sun and the Sea are not given to me, nor joys like yours 
as you flit together 

Away to the woods and the downs, and across the endless acres 
of purple heather. 

Mr. Clement Scott.— Mr. H. IV. Lucy. 389 

But I've love, thank Heaven ! and mercy, too ; 'tis for justice 

only I bid you hark 
To the tale of a penniless man like me — to the wounded cr}- 

of a London Clerk ! " 

Then he took the part of tlie shop-girls ^^•ho are never 
allowed to sit down (" Weary Womankind ") ; of the London 
children who cry for fresh air ("The Children's Cry"), and 
described as well man}- a deed of daring by sea and land, 
in which sailors, soldiers, engine-drivers, policemen, life-boat- 
men, and coastguardsmen were concerned. In his little volume 
of " Lays and Lyrics " nearly a score of these Punch poems 
are republished. 

The Parliamentary phase of Punch is the one which has 
remained constant from the beginning of the paper. All else 
has been subject to change — the quality of its satire, the 
character of its literature, the intention of its art, and the 
class of its humour. But in his attendance upon Parliament 
Puncli has been persistently assiduous and consistently frank, 
neither awed by its majesty nor sickened by its follies. Par- 
liament has alwa5's been regarded in his pages in the spirit 
of benevolent patronage and control, which, though unques- 
tionabl}^ pedagogic, has always been just and sympathetic 
in tone. It was in order to continue the chain forged by 
Shirle}' Brooks and Tom Taylor in their " Essence of Parlia- 
ment," without the dropping of a link, that Mr. Burnand's 
first Staff appointment was made with a view to filling the 
place that had been left vacant by Tom Taylor's death. His 
attention, like that of many others, had long been attracted to 
the brilliant weekh' articles in the "Observer," entitled "From 
the Cross Benches" — papers that dealt with the week's 
Parliamentar}' proceedings with singular cleverness, humour, 
and originality — and at the proper moment he sought out 
the author of them, Mr. Henry W, Lucy, of the " Daily News." 

Mr. Lucy had already graduated as the Pepys of Parlia- 
ment ; for he had been known in gallerv and lobby of the 
House for the past ten years, and was acting as chief of the 
Parliamentary Staff for his paper. He was, therefore, con- 
sidered particularly well-fitted for the new post on Punch, and 


The History of ''Puxch." 

he readily accepted the invitation. His first contribution was 
a sort of prospectus of Toby's Diary, which was pubhshed 
on January Sth, i8Si. Thenceforward ^Ir. Lucy became 
known as "Toby, M.P. ; " and when a puzzled Member of 
Parliament, familiar with his face, would occasionally ask him 
in the Lobby, " By the way, where are you member for ? " he 
would answer ''Barks," and pass on. It is not imcommon 

to find unregenerate members taking to 
themselves the credit of the witticisms 
which Toby puts into their mouths; so 
that there is perhaps excuse for the 
biographer of Lord Sherbrooke (Robert 
Lowe), who attributed to his subject the 
capital exclamation with which Mr. Lucy 
endowed him. When he saw a deaf 
member get his ear-trumpet into posi- 
tion in order to listen to a tedious 
orator, he remarked (according to Toby): 
" What a pity it is to see a man thus 
wasting his natural advantages ! " And 
Lowe has had the credit of it ever since. 

Xo one in the House knows its members so well as Mr. Lucy; 
no one out of it is so well acquainted with its procedure ; 
and when for a short time he reluctantly filled the editorial 
chair of the " Daily Xews," he was unhappy till he got back 
to Toby's "kennel" in the gallery of the House of Commons. 
But the Essence of Parfiament as distilled by " Toby " 
is by no means the only, hardly even the most voluminous, 
of Mr. Lucy's Pinich work. In the recess he is a constant 
contributor as 'Six. Burnand's deputy in the character of 
Punch's reviewer — "The Baron de Book-Womis," through 
whose personality "My Baronite" appears from time to 
time ; while among his serial articles have been " The 
Letter-bag of Toby, ]\I.P.," and the set of Inter\'iews with 
Celebrities at Home, parodies of the "World's" articles, 
which delighted none so nmch as Ednumd Yates himself.* 

H. W. LUCY. 

{From a Photograph by 
IValery, Limited.') 

* Having mentioned the name of Edmund Yates, I may here contradict 
the statement that that distinguished journalist ever wrote for Punch. The 

" Toby, M.P" 391 

Mr. Lucy joined the Table on his return from Japan in 

But it is as "Toby" that he has gained most of his 
popularity. He showed the way about the House of Com- 
mons to Mr. Harry Furniss ; and, up to the withdrawal of 
the latter, his "Diary" was always illustrated by that artist. 
Later on Mr. Edward J. Reed took the place ]\Ir. Furniss 
resigned, and the pair continue to set before the world 
their humorous versions — perversions, it would be hardly fair 
to say — of Parhamentary proceedings. Mr. Lucy's touch is 
light and original, imparting an appearance of interest and 
entertainment to the dullest debate, and of verisimilitude 
to the most doubtful statements. Yet the "Diary" is not 
without its value as a record, while it remains an amusing 
commentary upon the work of the Session, and an entirely 
inoffensive caricature of the men and speeches with whom 
it deals. 

In 1884, when the entertainer's platform was offering 
inducements superior to those of the stage, Mr. George Gros- 
smith began a series of sketches in Punch, entitled " A'er}' 
Trying," the fourth article of which contained a skit of 
Mr. Flowers, the Police ^Magistrate at Bow Street, under the 
heading of " The Good-humoured Magistrate," and another 

belief arose partly through Martin F. Tapper's " My Life as an Author " : — 
" I remember also how he dropped in on me at Albany one morning, just as 
I happened to be pasting into one of my books a few quips and cranks anent 
my books from Punch. He adjured me ' not to do it ! for Heaven's sake 
spare me ! ' covering his face with his hands. ' What's the matter, friend ? ' 
'I wrote all those,' added he in earnest penitence, 'and I vow faithfully never 
to do it again ! ' ' Pray don't make a rash promise, Edmund, and so unkind 
a one too ; I rejoice in all this sort of thing — it sells my books, besides — I'se 
Maw-worm — I likes to be despised!' 'Well, it's very good-natured of you 
to say so, but I really never will do it again ; " and the good fellow never 
did— so have I lost my most telling advertisement " (p. 326). Considering, how- 
ever, that Yates was on the worst of terms with Mark Lemon, we may easily 
believe that he did not contribute to his paper, and as during his early friend- 
ship with Mr. Burnand he never hinted at writing for Punch as an outsider, 
the statement may be dismissed. Moreover, so fantastic is the scene described 
that, if strictly accurate, it was most likely a practical joke played off upon 
the egotistical old gentleman, whose worst enemies never accused him of a 
sense of humour. 

392 The History of "Punch." 

dealt with Mr. Vaughan. Then came his fimn}^ musical 
sketches, with a few bars of absurd music sprinkled here and 
there in imitation of the London concert books. A few songs 
he also contributed to the paper, "The Duke of Seven Dials" 
becoming " popular even unto Hackney." Then, in collabora- 
tion with his brother, Mr. Weedon Grossmith, he produced 
"The Diary of a Nobody." It was a domestic record of 
considerable length, which dealt in an extremely earnest way 
with Mr. Samuel Porter, who lived in a small villa in Hollo- 
way, and had trouble with his drains, and was sometimes 
late at the office, with similar circumstances of striking interest 
and concern, which seemed to him to call for public notice. 
The " Diary " was afterwards republished in book form. 

The light and dainty touch of Mr. Andrew Lang has not 
been denied to Punch. A number of trifles in verse appeared 
in 1883 and the two following years, the most important of 
them being a sonnet to Colonel Burnaby — the one contribution, 
it may be said, that the author has thought well to republish. 
Some years later he produced the laughable series " The Con- 
fessions of a Duffer" — papers so humorous that it is difficult 
to accept Mr. Lang's disclaimer that " a comic paper is a thing 
in which I have no freedom to write." 

Besides Mr. W. Ralston, with his single contribution of 
" K.G.— O.E.D." (November 22nd, 1884), Miss May Kendall 
was the chief comer of the year 1885. This lady helps to 
make, up Piinch's bevy of lady literary contributors — Miss 
Betham-Edwards, Mrs. Frances Collins, Lady Campbell, Miss 
Burnand (an occasional reviewer, or " Baronitess "), Miss 
Hollingshead, and Mrs. Leverson, being the others. She is 
one of the few lady humorists of any consequence in her 
day. Women, as a rule, are humorists neither born nor 
made. Often enough they are wits, more frequently satirists. 
They can make, we are told, but they cannot take, a joke ; at 
any rate, they are usually out of their element in the comic 
arena. Moreover, as butts for the caricaturist they are un- 
satisfactory, for in proportion as his efforts are successful, his 
sense of chivalry is outraged ; and we have seen how Keene 
and others recoiled from the idea. Onl)- on one occasion 

. Miss May' Kendall. 393, 

did Mr. Furniss make the attempt, and that indirectly and 
in a sense unintentionally — and the circumstance brought a 
miniature storm about his ears. No woman has ever yet 
been a caricaturist, in spite of the fact that her femininity 
befits her pre-eminently for the part. That she has desisted 
is a mercy for which man may be devoutly thankful. At 
the present time the rule here laid down as to lady humorists 
is proved by an exception in the person of Miss Murphy, a 
lady, it is said, of much beauty, who worked her way up 
from a subordinate position to the editorship of ''The Mel- 
bourne Punch," a really comic production ; but the unequal 
battle that would follow any extensive imitation of her example 
is altogether too painful to contemplate. 

Miss Kendall's first poems, which were introduced to the 
notice of Punch by Mr. Andrew Lang in sincere admiration of 
their cleverness, were " The Lay of the Ancient Trilobite," 
and "Ballad of the Ichthyosaurus," which were printed in the 
numbers for January 24th and February 14th, 1885. It is Miss 
Kendall's peculiar talent that she is able to extract delicate 
humour out of the most unpromising subjects, and even in these 
lays, which together constituted her maiden effort, the charac- 
teristic is clearly shown. One verse may serve as an 
example ; it is from the poem which shows how the 
Ichthyosaurus aspires to a higher life, and how the all-absorbent 
Ether remains in triumph after we have played out our little 
parts to their puny end: — 

" And we, howsoever we hated, 

And feared, or made love, or believed, 
For all the opinions we stated, 

The woes and the wars we achieved, 
We too shall lie idle together — 

In very uncritical case ; 
And no one will win — but the Ether 

That fills circumambient space." 

Quaintly humorous ideas are spread among her score of con- 
tributions — and tenderness, too ; but it is as a humorous versifier 
of refinement and originality that she has appealed strongly to 
Punch readers, although, as she herself says, " it seemed very 

394 The History of "Punch!' 

wonderful to be in Punch, which I had venerated from my 
youth up." 

The single contribution of Mr. Brandon Thomas has a 
rather interesting story. It was a patriotic song of a stirring 
sort, called '' Britannia's Volunteers," composed at a time — in 
1885 — when patriotism was thick in the air. It was put to 
music by Mr. Alfred Allen ; and two days after it was written, 
Mr. Thomas was at the house of Mr. Woodall, M.P., and there 
he sang the song. An old gentleman, who covered his mouth 
and chin with his hand, sat in the front row, and levelled 
a piercing look at the singer, listening with intense interest. 
During the second verse Mr. Thomas, who was much affected 
by the gazer, sang straight at the aged owner of the wonder- 
ful eyes : — 

" They were no conscripts Marlbro' led, 
But freemen — Volunteers, 
A free-born race from fathers bred 

That won for us Poictiers ; 
No conscript names were on the roll — 

All heroes dead and gone — 
That blazoned bright on Victory's scroll 

The name of Wellington : 
And Inkerman's immortal height 

Will tell for many a day 
How sternly sons of Freedom fight, 

Let odds be what they may. 
Thus Liberty scorns vain alarms. 
And answers back with cheers ! 
No conscript legions flogged to anns 
Have yet flogged Volunteers ! " 

Then the masking hand was removed, and the face of Mr. 
Gladstone was revealed. The sight of him seemed to stimu- 
late the singer, an enthusiastic Conseiwative, and as he gave 
forth the last verse, with singular effect, his eyes so filled 
with tears that he could hardly see the piano keys :— 

" They think to crush old England, 
And take her mighty place ! 
When they wipe out from ev'r}^ land 
The language of her race ; 

Mr. Brandon Thomas. — Mr. W. St. Lf.ger. 395 

When Justice meekly sheathes her sword, 

And Freemen ne'er make laws ; 
When Tyrants rule by force and fraud 

And dead is Freedom's cause ; 
When Liberty shall see her home 

Low levelled with the turf, 
And watch each son in turn become 

A tyrant-driven serf ; 
When Freedom's sacred name's forgot 

Within the hearts of men — 
They'll crush us to the earth, but not — 

By Heav'n ! — but not till then ! " 

When it was finished, Mr. Gladstone applauded \igoroiisly, 
as though unconscious of the pointed way in which the verse 
had been sung at him, or respectful perhaps of the sincerity 
of the singer ; and Mr. Burnand, who was present, and had 
been watching the scene with much amusement, enquired, 
aside, " Who wrote that ? " ''I did." '' When ? " "Two days 
ago." "Have you sent it anywhere?" "No." "Then let 
me have it." So with the metre slightly changed it appeared 
in Punch on May 23rd. 

Some of the most delicate and humorous vei'S de socieU 
of the day have come from Mr. Warham St. Leger, and 
some of the best have appeared since the end of 1886 in 
the pages of Punch. "The Lay of the Lost Critic" was the 
first of his contributions, and it was sent in, not by its 
author, but by a friend who had read it. So well was it 
thought of that Mr. St. Leger was invited at once to become 
a contributor, and accordingly he sent in many poems during 
the four years that followed, together with odd papers in 
. the form of letters, especially on pseudo-scientific lines. All 
these poems were collected into a volume entitled "Ballads 
from Punch," in which perhaps the most striking are that "To 
my Hairdresser," and the irresistibly comic satire on modern 
ordnance, in which during a naval battle, after all the fighting 
has been done by ramming, " the last stern order of the 
brave" is whispered through the ship: "We're going to fire 
the guns ! ! " This desperate course is taken and described 


The History of " Puxch." 

— the air gi'ows thick and dark with broken breech, flying 
tube, and disrupted armour-plate, and when all was over — 

"... They punished the seven survivors 
For wasting the ordnance stores.'' 

Mr. Anstey (Guthrie) was already famous for his little 
series of successful books, "Vice Versa," "The Giant's Robe," 
" The Tinted Venus," " The Black Poodle," and " A Fallen 
Idol," when he was invited to contribute to Punch. In 
each and all of these stories there had been a clear and 

original idea, worked out with in- 
genuit}' and invested with rich and 
delicate humour. Their author was 
clearlv a man for Punch. So thought 
Mr. Burnand, and ]\Ir. Anstey shared 
the opinion. On November 4th, 1885, 
therefore, appeared his tirst contribution 
"Faux et Preterea Xihil." His work 
was consistently good, and at the end 
of 1886 he was called to the Table, 
taking his place and eating his first 
Dinner in January, 1887. 

Mr, Anstey's writings attracted 
attention from the beginning, and in 
their reprinted form have been no less successful — the truest 
test of quality. Among the most delightful of these was 
the "Model Music Hall Songs" — songs and dramas virgin i bus 
ptierisque, adapted to the requirements of the members of 
the London County Council which sought out and found 
indecenc}' in a marionette's pursuit of a butterfly. The 
idea opened up to Mr. Anstey a comic vista, which he has 
developed for our delectation. The songs and dances, with 
their words and directions, are for the most part scream- 
ingly funny, consisting partly in the perfectly realised absurdity 
and inanity of the performance, and partly in that quality 
of absolute truthfulness to life which we are forced to realise 
in the presentation of them. Laughter is often produced b}- 
the mere faithfulness of an imitation, whether the thing copied 


{From a Photograf>h by Messrs. 
Bassano, Limited.) 

Mr, Anstey's Sa tire 3 97 

is funny or not. Simple mimicry has the power to make us 
laugh ; and over that power, in all its phases of motive, act, 
and talk, Mr. Anstey has absolute control. In addition, he 
has a genius for plot-making and verse-writing, be it original 
or parody, which in its own line is unsui"passed in modern 
literature. In his analysis of character and motive he seems 
to set before us our own weak selves laid bare, until his 
voces popiili become voces auimi, the voice of the people 
speaking unpleasantly like the ^'oice of conscience. 

In this comic reproduction of actual experience Mr. Anstey 
has travelled over the road pointed out by Mr. Burnand in 
his "Happy Thoughts" and ''Out of Town;" but, adding 
gi^eath' to the scientific truth of it, he seems to have lost 
something of the geniality and joviality of the fomi. Mr. 
Anstey has placed Societ}' on the dissecting-table, and prob- 
ing with a little less of the sympathy shown by ]\Ir. du 
Maurier, he cames his observation, consciously or uncon- 
sciously, to a much farther and more merciless point. Not 
that he has no kindly feeling for his subjects ; he has — but 
he reserves it for his good people. Towards his snobs and 
cads and prigs he is pitiless ; he turns his microscope upon 
them, and with far less mercy than is to be found in a 
vivisector he lays bare their false hearts, points to their lying 
tongues, and tears them out without a pang of remorse. It 
is all in fun, of course ; but it is unmistakable. Still, who 
shall find fault vrith what is the essence of justice and truth, 
which mercy only interferes with to weaken ? 

The burlesques in the '' Model Music Hall Songs " are 
often as good as their originals — ^just as some of the Rejected 
Addresses by the Smiths were as good as the genuine poems 
they parodied ; and the representation of them is placed before 
the reader with more than photogi-aphic truth. In " So Shy ! " 
we see the lady " of a mature age and inclined to a com- 
fortable embonpoint," who comes forward and sings — 

" I'm a dynety little dysy of the dingle, 
So retiring and so timid and so coy — 
If you ask me why so long I have lived single, 
I will tell you — 'tis because I am so shoy." 

398 The History of " Pua-ch.'' 

It is a notable fact that songs of this sort were driven 
off the better-class music-hall stage about this time, and 
there is little doubt that Mr. Anstey, to whom Mr. Bernard 
Partridge afterwards rendered artistic help, took yeoman's 
share in the campaign. More certain it is that with '' Mr. 
Punch's Young Reciter " he effectively suppressed the drawing- 
room spouter. Xo one with a sense of humour who has 
read that series can now stand up and recite a poem of a 
sentimental or an heroic nature from the pens of .Mr. Cle- 
ment Scott or Mr. G. R. Sims without genius to back him ; 
and no one who heard it could retain his gravity to the end. 
"Burglar Bill" melted almost to repentance by the innocent 
child who asked him to burgle her doll's house, and whose 
salvation was finally wrought b}^ the gift of the bab3''s jam- 
tart — killed the Young Reciter by dint of pure ridicule and 
honest fun. He has made an unsophisticated reciter as im- 
possible as a sympathetic and sentimental audience. 

And in "Voces Populi " — the popular dramas in dialogue, 
in which the conversation accurately and concisely describes 
the character, temperament, and tastes of the speaker — there 
is a humorous verbal photography of extraordinary vividness. 
'Arr)^ is no longer a symbol and a type, as he is in Mr. Milli- 
ken's hands ; he is a definite person in one particular position 
in life and no other, and what he says could not, we feel, 
possibly have been said in any other way, nor by any other 
person. And so along the whole gamut of the classes 
through which Mr. Anstey leads us. The humour is pene- 
trating, and it is difficult to say where the truth ends and 
the caricature begins. Who can forget the visit to the Tudor 
Exhibition, when Henry VHI.'s remarkable hat was on 
view ? " 'Arry," says 'Arriet to her escort ; " look 'ere ; 
fancy a king goin' about in a thing like that — pink with a 
green feather! Why, I wouldn't be seen in it m3'self!" 
'Any, who is clearly farceur, replies with a pretty wit : 
"Ah, but that was ole 'Ener}- all over, that was; he wasn't 
one for show. He liked a quiet, unassumin' style of 'at, he 
did. * None o' yer loud pot'ats for Me ! ' he'd tell the 
Royal 'atters ; ' find me a tile as won't attract people's 

And Parody. 399 

notice, or you won't want a tile yerselves in another minute ! ' 
An' you may take yer oath they served him prett}' sharp, 
too ! " And so it is all through ; the talk of the people, of 
everybody in all sorts of positions in life, is recorded in these 
" Voces," and in all there is the same quality of nature. 

In " Travelling Companions," nearly as amusing and quite 
as observant, we are made to feel that the two heroes detest 
each other hardly more than Mr. Anstey detests Culcherd, 
the more unsympathetic and contemptible of the two. They 
are nearly as despicable as they are funny, and their 
creator has little pity for them on that account. There is a 
"plentiful lack of tenderness," but an abundance of humour 
to excuse it. This quality is not visible in *"' Mr. Punch's 
Pocket Ibsen " — a parody so good that we sometimes wonder 
if the part we are reading is not reall)^ from the hand of the 
Norwegian master. Nothing, surely, could be truer, nothing 
touched with a lighter hand than "Pill-doctor Herdal " — 
an achievement attained solely by a profound study of the 
dramatist. Again, in "The Man from Blankle3^'s " and in 
"Lyre and Lancet" we have social satires grafted on to a 
most entertaining plot — a creation in both cases which may 
be compared with Keene's drawings for observation, and with 
Goldsmith's and Moliere's plays for the happy construction 
of these comedies of errors. The plots assuredl}' would have 
extorted the admiration of Labiche himself, so complicated 
and ingenious are they. Besides, everything seems so natural, 
so inevitable, " so much of a lesson," that it is hardl}" to be 
wondered at that "The Man from Blankley's " was on more 
than one occasion actually given out as the text for a sermon 
delivered from the pulpit. 

Another excuse for music-hall treatment of an exquisite 
sort is afforded by the story of "Under the Rose," which 
is inimitable. For example : — 

The Sisters Sarcenet (on stage) : " You men are deceivers 
and awfully sly. Oh, you a7'c ! " 

Male Portion of Audience (as 7S expected from tlicm) : 
" No, we areiiH! " 

The Sisters S. (archly) : " Now you know you are ! 


The History of '' Punch" 

You come home with the milk ; should your poor wife ask 

'Pressing business, my pet,' you serenely reply, 
When you've really been out on the ' Tiddle-y-hi ! ' 
Yes, you havef^ 
Male Audience fas before): "No, we've not!''^ 
The Sisters S. (with the air of accusing angels) : " Why, 
you know you have ! " 

It is sometimes objected that the root of Mr. Anstey's success 
lies near the surface, and is nothing but the vividness of his 
dialogues. It is a great deal more ; it lies in the truth of 
his characters, subtly drawn, but irresistible, and, now and 
again, tenderly pathetic. Thus may you see the optimist 
and pessimist, and the link between them, in the following 
scene in the Mall on Drawing-Room Day : — - 

Cheery Old Lady (delighted ) : " I could see all the coach- 
men's 'ats beautiful. We'll wait and see 'em all come out, 
John, won't we ? They won't be more than a hour and a half in 
there, I dessay." 

A Person with a Florid Vocabulary : " Well, if I'd ha' 
known all I was goin' to see was a set o' blanky nobs shut up 
in their blank-dash kerridges, blank my blanky eyes if I'd ha' 
stirred a blanky foot, s'elp me dash, I wouldn't ! " 

A Vendor (persuasively) : " The kerrect lengwidge of hevery 
flower that blows — one penny ! " 

In the composition of his " Voces " and kindred work, it 
has been the practice of Mr. Anstey to visit the needful spot, 
where he would try to seize the salient points and the 
general tone, the speakers and the scene, trusting to luck for 
a chance incident, feature, or sentence that might provide a 
subject. Sometimes he would have to go empty awa}' ; but 
as a rule he would find enough to provide the rough material 
for a sketch. Sometimes, too, he would combine hints and 
anecdotes received from his acquaintance with his own ex- 
perience and invention ; on rarer occasions he would happen 
upon an incident which could be worked up into a sketch very 
much as it actually occurred, though with strict selection and 
careful elaboration. On the whole it may be taken that the 

Mr. R. C. Lehmaxs. 


conversations are mostly what might have happened, but 
tliat the}' never were shorthand reproductions of overheard 
talk ; and the incidents are almost invariably invented. 
Occasionally something in an exhibition or show would sug- 
gest a typical comment, or a casual remark might provide an 
idea for a character ; but a good deal is certainly unconscious 
reminiscence and fragmentary observation, and the residue 
pure guess-work. 

Of the artistic quality of Mr. Anstey's work there can be 
no question — neither of its humour, nor of its value as a 
complete reflection of English, and especially of Cockney, life. 
Old-fashioned people may and do denounce it as new- 
fangled ; but does anyone doubt the sort of welcome that 
would have been accorded to it by Jen-old and Thackeray and 
Gilbert a Beckett if they had had the good fortune to have 
an Anstev in their midst half-a-centurv 

ago ? 

Mr. R. C. Lehmann, grand-nephew 
of W. H. Wills, one of Piaich's early 
crew, had a good reputation as a Cam- 
bridge wit before Mr. Burnand captured 
him for Punch. In April, 1889, he 
began to edit "The Granta," the clever 
" barrel-organ of the Cambridge under- 
graduates," satirical, brightly humorous, 
and freshly youthful. On the 14th of 
the following December there appeared 
in Punch his first contribution, a dia- 
logue entitled "Among the Amateurs," 
which has since been reprinted in "The Billsbury Election." 

Mr. Lehmann lost no time in de\'ising series of articles, 
which all Punch readers will remember. Such were " Modern 
Types" and "Mr. Punch's Prize Xovels" (one of the most 
successful, including parodies of a score of the leading authors 
of the day), "In the Know," "The Adventures of Picklock 
Holes," "Letters to Abstractions," "Lord Omiont's Mate and 
Matey's Aminta," "Manners and Customs," and "Studies in 
the New Poetry." Within four months of his first contribution 
A A 


{From a PhotograpSi by Elliott 
and Fry.) 

402 The History of '' Punch" 

Mr. Lehmann was promoted to the Table — an iinpreceden- 
tedlv rapid promotion — and he has ever since been one 
of the most dihgent of contributors. Literary merit apart, 
Mr. Lehmann's "Conversational Hints for Young Shooters" 
has probabh" been received with gi-eater favour throughout 
the country, on account of its subject and its felicitous treat- 
ment, than any of the young author's works. Country 
readers are essentiallv sportsmen — in conversation, if not in 
fact ; and nothing in humorous writing delights them more 
than a clever burlesque on their favourite topic. You may 
hear the book praised where one of the writer's more 
ambitious efforts may pass unnoticed ; and one of its passages 
is quoted with unction in many a shooting party. " Johnson, 
who was placed forward, again stood under a canop)' of 
pheasants, and shot with brilliant success into the gaps. . . . 
The only theory which is accepted as explaining the cata- 
strophe is one that imputes a malignant cunning to the 

The )-ear that saw ]Mr. Lehmann's a]")pointment witnessed 
also the calling of his kinsman, Mr. Barrv Pain, one of the 
chief contributors to "The Granta." His story of "The 
Hundred Gates," printed in " Cornhill," struck Mr. Burnand as 
a work of promise ; indeed, Mr. Burnand is reported to 
have found it so funnv that he thought he must ha"ve 
written it himself The annexing of the writer was at once 
effected. One of his earliest contributions to PuncJi was 
the amusing parody of Tennvson's "Throstle," just before 
Christmas, 1889 ; and a collection of comic Cambridge defini- 
tions in imitation of Euclid followed. Then came a set of 
short stories called " Storicules," and a series of articles con- 
stituting a mock guide to conduct for N-oung ladies. Since 
1892 Mr. Pain's work has fallen awav, probably only for a 
time ; for Punch has proved well-nigh irresistible to everv 
genuine humorist who is anxious to bring his faculty to bear 
on the risibility of the English public. 

Mr. Henry I'ottinger Stephens, one ot the wits of the 
" Sporting Times," the founder of the " Topical Times," and 
member of the staff of the "Daily Telegraph," was for two 

Mr. C. Geake and Others. 403 

or three years on the outside salaried Staff of PiincJi. Con- 
tributing from 1889 to 1 89 1, he wrote a series of "queer 
tales" as well as some attacks on the then South Western 
Railwa}^ management, under the title of " The \Va3's of 
Waterloo." Such dramatic criticisms as were not undertaken 
by Mr. Burnand or relegated by him to Mr. Arthur a 
Beckett, and numerous trifles besides, fell to him to do ; but 
on his departure for America the connection was broken, and 
not afterwards resumed. 

Passing by Mr. C. W. Cooke, we find Mr. Charles Geake, 
member of the Bar and Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge, 
as the chief recruit of the year 1890. To "The Granta " he 
had sent a casual contribution, and Mr. R. C. Lehmann, 
appreciating his talent, proved his esteem by installing Mr. 
Geake as the Cambridge editor of that paper. From " The 
Granta" to Punch has become a natural ascent, and on 
Jul)' 12th, 1890, ]\Ir. Geake made his first bow to London 
readers. Three months later a packet of Punch office 
envelopes announced that he had been placed on the foot- 
ing of a regular outside contributor, and that it was now 
his privilege to send his work straight to the printer's. At 
first he wrote nothing but verse ^ — society verse, ballades,, 
rondeaux, topical verse, and parodies in verse and prose, and 
then burlesques of books, such as the capital imitation of 
''The Tale of Two Telegrams" (a "Dolly Dialogue" in the 
manner of " Anthonv Hope"), p. 97, Vol. CVII., Septem- 
ber ist, 1894, ^md"The Blue Gardenia" (October 20th, 1894, 
p. 185), with various skits and topical matter. "Lays of 
the Currenc}" " are among the chief of Mr. Geake's poetical 
'' series," and "Chronicles of a Rm^al Parish" — the adven- 
tures and misadventures of a rural parishioner who wishes to 
patronise the Parish Councils Act — his principal effort in 
comic prose. 

The year 1892 brought three new writers: Mr. Gerald 
F. Campbell, who began by contributing (on April 23rd) 
poems of sentiment, such as " Town Thoughts from the 
Country," and three months later " The Cry of the Children " 
and "Alone in London;" R. F. Murray, the American-born 
A A 2 

404 The History of "Punch." 

author of "The Scarlet Gown," who, through Mr. Andrew 
Lang's introduction, sent in a few verses shortly before his 
death ; and Mr. Roberts, who finds his place among the artists. 

Mr. George Davies was an important accession of the 
following year. On only half-a-dozen occasions had he ever 
been in print, and that in obscure publications, when he com- 
posed an "Ethnographical Alphabet," beginning "A is an 
Afghan." The writer, who is something of a tsiganologue, 
emboldened b}- his success, followed up his alphabet, which 
appeared January 21st, 1893, and within a year had placed 
to his credit three-score contributions, most of them in verse 
— rather a remarkable achie^■ement for one heretofore con- 
sidered a mere bookwomi and dryasdust. 

Another Cambridge man of originality and ingenuity, 
mainly in verse, is Mr. Arthur A. Sykes — a " Cantabard," as 
he himself would admit, peculiarly skilled in " Cambrij ingles." 
He began with "In the Key of Ruthene " on May 6th, 
1893, '^^^^ followed it up with a laughable ode "To a 
Fashion-Plate Belle." It was accompanied with a comic, 
though hardly exaggerated, design of the female figure as 
depicted in ladies' fashion-papers — the drawing being also by 
Mr. Sykes. Since then many verses by him ha\'e appeared, 
in wliich quaint conception, sudden turn of thought, and 
strano-e achievements in rhvming (as in "The Tour That 
Never Was," August 19th, 1893) '^^<^ the chief figures. Then 
came the promotion embodied in the privilege of sending 
his contributions direct to the printer before, instead of after, 
being submitted to the editorial eye ; and a good deal of 
prose work followed, such as the " Scarlet Afternoon," a skit 
in dialogue suggested by 'Sir. R. S. Hichens' " Green Carnation." 

Light verse from the Rev. Anthonv C. Deane began on 
August 2oth, 1892 ("Ad Puellam "), but he was already a 
master of the art. Two months before his little volume of 
" Frivolous Verses " had appeared, and so struck Mr. Andrew 
Lang that he reviewed it in a "Daily Xews " leading-article, 
invited the author to go and see him, and suggested his 
writing for Punch. Mr. Deane had already been a " Granta " 
poet, and was well known to ]\Ir. Lehmann, who, finding 

Rev. a. C. Deane. — Mr. Owen Seaman. 405 

thiit Mr. Lang had already spoken to Mr. Anstey, gladly 
added a word of introduction to the Editor. By such means 
as these, oftener than by promiscuous outside application, is 
new blood found : the best men do not, as a rule, force 
forward their own work. Mr. Deane at that time was 
not twenty-two, nor was he yet ordained. He passed the 
necessary period at the same theological college — Cuddesdon 
— that }-ears before had sheltered Mr. Burnand, and went on 
contributing verses to Punch, to the number (1894) of sixty 
or seventy ; so that the course of his Punch love has run 
very smooth. 

Another literary godson of Mr. Lehmann's, and child of 
'The Granta," is ]\Ir. Owen Seaman. Through the good 
offices of the former, ]Mr. Seaman's " Rhyme of the Kipper- 
ling," nearly filling the first page of Punch, was inserted 
in the number for January 13th, 1894. This imitation of 
Mr. Rudyard Kipling's " Rhyme of the Three Sealers " was 
its own recommendation, and since that time Mr. Seaman 
has been one of the most prolific outside contributors of the 
year. His series comprise " She-Xotes " — a skit on " Key- 
notes " and "Airs Resumptive" — of which the fourth, "To Julia 
in Shooting-togs (and a Herrickose Vein)" is an admirable speci- 
men of its class. Art and political criticism in verse and prose 
are employed to illustrate the writer's facility and classic taste. 

To this list, necessarily incomplete, in spite of its length, 
a few names remain to be added, and an incongi-uous party 
they fomi. Professor Forbes ; Mr. J. C. Wilson, mantle manu- 
facturer ; and i\Ir. J. J. Lushington, of the Suffolk Chief Con- 
stable's Office, first a soldier and finally an auctioneer (a 
giant of nearly six feet se\-en, who would have fonned a 
good fourth to Thackeray, " Jacob Omnium,'.' and Dean Hole) 
— men of every sort and condition, brought together by the 
universal brotherhood of humoiu". Mrs. Frances Collins was 
a contributor, and her Punch utterance upon Judge Bayley's 
curious decision at Westminster County Court in January, 1877, 
as to next-door music that is " intolerable," yet not " action- 
able" ("Music hath (_C)Harms"), is still remembered and 
quoted. Another lady-wit of the present day is Mr. Lehmann's 

4o6 The History of "■ Punch!' 

sister, Lady Campbell, who wrote the women's letters in 
the series of " Manners and Customs," while her brother 
took the male side of the correspondence. ]VIrs. Leverson has 
been the contributor of numerous clever prose parodies and 
general articles, the chief of which up to June, 1895, ^^^^ been 
"The Scarlet Parasol." Mr. James Pavn has also worked 
for Punch, but very little — only to the extent of placing some 
little pleasantry at its service, and now and then suggesting 
a subject for illustration. A set of rhvmes bv Mr. H. D. 
Traill, reprinted in his volume entitled "Number Twenty," 
was his sole contribution, the " Saturdav Review" having had 
a sort of prescriptive right to all his work of this descrip- 
tion. It is the greater pity, for even the lightest of his 
verses have the true ring and, according to some, much of 
the vigour characteristic of Mr. Rudyard Kipling's work. 
Mr. Arthur Armitage, too, was for many years a contributor. 
Being a solicitor in practice, he kept his identity a secret. He 
was always known to the Editor and Proprietors as " Mr. A. 
Armstrong," and up to this present publication he never rcA'ealed 
the levity of his youth. His first contribution was " Marriage 
Customs of the Great Britons," which was inserted in the 
"Pocket-Book ' for 1S55. After writing regularly for this off- 
spring of PiincJis, Mr. Armitage was, in 1861, specially invited 
to contribute to the paper itself on topics political, social, 
and commercial — only a satire on " The Baby of the Papal 
States " (Louis Napoleon ) being rejected, on the ground that, 
were it inserted, war with France would be inevitable. On 
Mark Lemon's death Mr. Armitage ceased his connection as an 
" outside regular," and ^Hxe years later reprinted a number of 
his most amusing Punch verses and articles under the title of 
" Winkleton-on-Sea. ' Frederick Gale — better known as "The 
Old Buffer " and as the great cricket authorit}' — wrote a short 
series for Punch. Then ]\Ir. Walter Sichel, since the beginning 
of 1892, has contributed some prose and more verse, such as the 
series of " Men who have taken me in — to dmner," " Lays of 
Modern Home," " Inns and Outs," as well as " Rhymes out of 
Season," "The Diary of an Old Joke," and the original " Queer 
Queries." The late magistrate, ^Ir. Hosack, too, contributed 

The Literature of ''Punch" Afij 

several sharp police-court sketches ; and '' Arthur Sketchley " 
had a capital story to tell, but spoiled it in the telling. Even 
H. J. Byron, contrary to general belief, tried his hand as a 
Punch contributor, but he was somewhat dull. He admitted, 
in fact, that he wanted to keep all his fun for his plays, and 
so starved his Punch work of its legitimate humour. Mr. 
Arthur E. Viles's verses on "Temple Bar" (December, 1877) 
may be mentioned, and Mr. Leopold Godfrey Turner's name 
must not be omitted. But, of the contributors of trifles, a 
number niust remain anonymous — as, indeed, manv do from 
choice; inevitably so before 1847, when it first became the 
practice to enter up outsiders' work in their own names. 
And among these occasional contributors the present writer 
is proud to range himself. 

In looking at the literature of Punch, we become sensible 
of a change not dissimilar to that which we find to have 
taken place in its art. There is nowadays no Jerrold, whose 
fulminating passion and fine frenzv often came dangerously 
near to " high-falutin'." There is perhaps no versifier at the 
Table with quite the same fancy or taste as Gilbert Abbott 
a Beckett, Shirley Brooks, and Percival Leigh. But we have 
instead a keener observation of the life and customs of the 
day, an ingenuity and an elegance that go better with the 
taste and habit of thought of the times. In the old days it 
was not uncommon in discussing Punch's poetrv to urge in 
apology that — 

Wit will shine 
Through the harsh cadence of a rugged line. 

Nowadays, when comedy and rapier have to a great extent 
replaced farce and sword, finish is accounted of greater 
importance than of yore, and gi'ace and daintiness are 
accepted where simple fun was formerly the aim — an aim, 
by the wa}', which was as frequently missed as now. Let 
the reader who is inclined to be as severe on latter-day 
Punch as on latter-day ever3lhing, take down one of the 
early volumes, and seek for the side-splitting articles and 
epigrams, the verse apoplectic with fun, which we are taught 
to expect there. He will learn that it is not so much that 

4oS The History of " Puxch." 

the quality of Punch has changed, despite the great names 
of the past. He will find that the change is due rather to 
modern fashion and to modern views than to any deteriora- 
tion of Punch's. Good things are there now, as then ; and 
now, as then, many of the best writers in the country 
contribute periodically to its pages. With verse and article, 
epigram and parody, Punch continues to be a record and 
a mirror of his times — a comic distorting mirror perhaps, 
but still a glass of fashion and of history, with fun for its 
mercurv, which, through its literature, pleasantly and agi'ee- 
ably reflects the deeds and the thoughts of the people. 
What of it, if his verse now and again is only passable ? 
Sometimes it is fine — always acceptable, and rarely below 
an elevated established standard ; anyhow, some years ago, 
Mr. Joseph Chamberlain's single offering was rejected on its 
demerits by the " monument of British humour." Perhaps 
the Editor judged it as Punch's railway-porter judged an old 
lady's pet in accordance with railway rules : Cats is " dogs," 
and rabbits is " dogs," and so's pan'ots ; but this 'ere tortis is 
a hinsect, and there ain't no — need — for it. And the tone 
of Punch's more serious utterances is now that of the dining- 
room rather than of the debating society and the vestry 
room. Mr. Ruskin, among others, deplored Punch's kid 
gloves and exening-dress, when amiable obituary notices on 
Baron Bethell — (had he not been Punch's counsel in the 
old days ?) — and the Bisho]) of Winchester were published. 
''Alas, Mr. l*unch," he wrote, "is it come to this? And is 
there to be no more knocking down, then ? And is your 
last scene in future to be shaking hands with the devil ?" * 
Punch can still hit hard ; though " knocking down " is no 
longer his main delight. His text has become as refined as 
his art — and that, of course, is the reason that it no longer 
conmiands the chief attention of the class that once was led 
by it. At that time its art alone carried it into circles that 
abhorred its politics, and it is recorded that Mulready was 
driven to excuse himself to one of the Staff for not reading the 
text by the lame confession that he was " no book-worm ! " 

* " Fors," 1874 (p. 125). 


PUNCH'S artists: 1 84 1. 

Punch's Primitive Art — A. S. Henning — Brine — A Strange Doctrine — John 
Phillips — W. Newman — Pictorial Puns — H. G. Hine — John Leech — His 
Early Life — Friendship with Albert Smith — Leech Helps Punch up the 
Social Ladder — His Political Work — Leech Follows the " Movements " — 
" Servantgalism " — "The Brook Green Volunteer" — The Great Beard 
Movement — Sothern's Indebtedness to Leech for Lord Dundreary — Crazes 
and Fancies — Leech's Types — " Mr. Briggs " — Leech the Hunter — Leech 
as a Reformer — Leech as an Artist — His " Legend "-Writing — Friend- 
ship with Dickens — His Prejudices — His Death — And Funeral. 

One of the peculiarities of Punch's career is the increasing 
preponderance assumed b}- the artistic section. It is said 
that when George Hodder was introduced to a distinguished 
Royal Academician, he could find nothing better to say, with 
which to open the conversation, than the tremendous senti- 
ment — "Art is a great thing, sir!" Punch gradually but 
surely realised, too, how great a thing art is, and for many 
years past he has sought out artists to recruit his Staff, 
where before he looked chiefly for draughtsmen. The state- 
ment may seem a curious one to make, but it is an opinion 
shared nowadavs bv some of the best artists on Punch and 
off it, that were the drawings sent in to-day which were 
contributed by the majority of the original artistic Staff, not 
excluding the mighty Leech himself, they would be declined 
without thanks, and — according to the somewhat harsh rule 
that has for some time prevailed — without return of their 
contribution. There was a promiscuous rough-and-ready 
manner about the drawing of comic cuts in those early da5'S, 
when intended for the periodical press, that would offend 
the majority of people to-day. There was no photography 
then to enable the artist to draw as big as he chose, and 
then to reproduce the drawings on to the wood-block in any 

4IO The History of " Puxch." 

size he please. There were no blocks which could be taken 
into sections and distributed among half-a-dozen engravers at 
once for swift and careful cutting. There was no " process," 
which pemiitted of reduction and reproduction of the finest 
pen-and-ink work. There was no " drawing from the life " 
for these little pictures of "life and character." The joke was 
the thing, not the artistic drawing of it. Farce and burlesque 
had not yet developed into comedy and comedietta, refined by 
degrees and beautifully assthetic. Nowadays, as Mr. du Maurier 
has publicly declared, everything must be drawn straight from 
Xature, without trusting to memory or observation alone. 
" Men and women, horses, dogs, seascapes, landscapes, every- 
thing one can make little pictures out of, must be studied 
from life. . . . Even centaurs, dragons, and cherubs must be 
closely imitated from Xature — or at least as much as can be 
got from the living model ! " It is, therefore, more than 
likely that Leech would have been told that he must really 
be more careful in his work before Punch could publish it ; 
and his first contribution of " Foreign Affairs " would have 
been rejected as being altogether too rough and with far too 
little point for its size. All Punch's pictures at this day, no 
doubt, cannot be said to suipass the artistic achievement of 
some of the earliest cuts, but there is almost invariably an 
artistic intention, technically speaking, which excuses even the 
poorer work— a suggestion of the drawing-school rather than, 
to use a modern expression, mere " dancing upon paper." 

Although from the beginning to the present day the 
artistic Staff which has sat at Punch's Table has numbered 
less than a score, and the outside Staft, unattached (such as 
Captain Howard, Mr. Sands, Mr. Pritchett, Mr. Fairfield, 
Mr. Atkinson, Mr. Ralston, and Mr. Corbould), but very few 
more — the total number of draughtsmen whose pencils have 
been seen in Punch's pages amount to about one hundred 
and seventy. In some cases sketches have been sent in 
anonymously ; a few others I have been unable to trace ; 
but these, it must be admitted, are hardl}" worth the trouble 
expended on them. 

The earliest recruit was Archibald S. Henning, the first in 

Archibald S. Henning. 



(From a Water-Colour by his 
son, Mr. Walton Henning.) 

importance, as he was to be cartoonist, and first to appear 
before the pubhc, inasmuch as the wrapper was from his 
hand. He was the third son of John Henning, friend of 
Scott and Dr. Chahners, on the strength of liis famous 
miniature restoration of the Parthenon frieze, of which he 
engi-aved the figures on slate in intaglio ; and he was well 
known besides not only for these copies 
of the Elgin marbles, but for his por- 
trait-busts and medallions. Precision in 
all things was one of his characteristics, 
and even showed itself in the inscriptions 
in his family Bible, wherein he set on 
record that his son Archibald was 
"born at Edinburgh, on the i8th of 
February, at 30 minutes past 3 a.m." 
But this accuracy was not inherited, 
although the son was brought up to 
assist his father on the friezes which 
he executed on Burton's Arch at Hyde 
Park Corner, and on the Athenaeum Club-house. His 
drawing was loose and undistinguished ; his sense of humour, 
such as it was, unrefined ; and his fun exaggerated and 
false. He was a Bohemian, but not of the type of his 
brother-in-law Kenny Meadows, preferring a class of enter- 
tainment less exalted than those who so warmly welcomed 
his sister's husband. Mr. Sala tells me that Henning painted 
the show-blind for the Post Office, and afterwards steadily 
drifted down the stream of time ; and Mr. Sala ought to 
know, for he employed him in those impecunious but jolly 
days when the editorship of "Chat" was in his hands. One 
of the early memories of Mr. Walton Henning, Archibald's son, 
is being sent by his father to collect the sum of one pound 
sterling from Mr. Sala, and, after sitting on the office-stool 
from eleven in the morning until two, being sent back without 
the money, but instead with a letter of apology and of con- 
gratulation on possessing a son who could sit for three hours, 
like Patience on a monument, smiling at an empty till. 
Henning remained with Punch till the summer of 1842, 

412 The History of "Punch." 

having contributed eleven cartoons to the first volume and 
several to the second, the last of which was that of " In- 
direct Taxation," on p. 201. He also illustrated Albert 
Smith's social "physiologies" of "The Gent" and "The 
Ballet Girl " — not ill-done ; and when Punch had no further 
need of his services he transferred them successively to " The 
Squib," "The Great Gun," and "Joe ]\Iiller the Younger," 
in each case taking the post of cartoonist. Later on he 
worked occasionally on "The Man in the ]\Ioon " and on the 
"Comic Times," and died in 1864. 

Xo greater loss was Brine, Henning's fellow-cartoonist, 
who remained with Punch until the beginning of the third 
Aolume, having drawn nearly a dozen cartoons for each of 
the two volumes. He was a poor and often a " fudgy " 
draughtsman, gifted with extremely little liumour, who had 
nevertheless worked a good deal at a Life Academy in the 
Tottenham Court Road, along with Thomas Woolner, Elmore, 
Claxton, and J. R. Herbert, and had even studied in Paris. 
He had some strange notions as to figure-drawing, some of 
which he wolild impart to such young students as cared to 
listen. One of these rules, which he sought to impress on 
Mr. Birket Foster's 'prentice mind, was never to draw ankle- 
joints on female legs ; but Mr, Foster did not remain a 
figure-draughtsman long enough to benefit by this valuable 
advice. Brine was poorly paid, some of his smaller cuts 
commanding a sum no higher than three-and-six ; but it is 
impossible to say, looking at these sketches, that his efforts 
were seriously underpaid. 

Another of the Old Guard was John Phillips — who is not 
to be confused with Watts Phillips, a contributor of a later 
period. He was . the son of an eccentric old water-colour 
painter, well known in his day, and has been identified as the 
scene-painter whom Landells introduced later to the " Illus- 
trated London News." Phillips, with Crowquill, illustrated 
Reynolds' popular "continuation" of Dickens' Pickwick 
Papers, entitled "Pickwick Abroad," and, like Brine, he 
received his conge when the transfer of Punch to Bradbury 
and Evans took place. 

W/LLiAM Newman. 413 

And then there was b\' far the most important and 
valuable draughtsman of the quartette— William Newman. 
He was a ver}- poor man, who in point of payment for his 
work suffered more than the rest ; and when he asked for 
a slight increase in terms, he was met with a refusal on the 
ground that " Mr. John Leech required such high prices." 
He was an old hand at pictorial satire, and was one of those 
who drew the little caricatures in " Figaro in London" several 
years before. He was brought on to Punch by Landells, 
but, owing to his lack of breeding and of common manners, he 
was never invited to the Dinner, nor did any of his colleagues 
care to associate with him. Unfortunately for him he was 
an extremely sensitive man, and the neglect with which he 
was perhaps not unnaturalh' treated preyed greatly upon 
his mind. For a considerable time he was the most prolihc 
draughtsman on the paper. Thus in 1846 there are no 
fewer than eighty-seven cuts by him ; in 1847, one hundred 
and twenty-seven; in 1848, one hundred and sixty-four; and 
in 1849, one hundred and twenty-one. From the cut on 
Punch's first title-page down to the year 1850 his work 
is everywhere to be seen, in every degree of importance, 
from tiie little silhouettes called "blackies," which usually 
constituted little pictorial puns in the manner of Thomas 
Hood, and which were paid— those of them which were good 
and funny enough to be used— at the all-round rate of 
eighteen shillings per dozen. Listances of his happy punning 
vein are the sketches of a howling dog chained to a post, 
entitled " The Moaning of the Tide ; " a portrait of a 
villainous-looking fellow, "Open to Conviction;" a horse 
insisting on drinking at a pond through which he is being 
driven, " Stopping at a Watering-Place ; " a hare nursing her 
voung, "The Hare a Parent;" a man wrestling with his 
cornet, "A most Distressing Blow;" and a street-boy pick- 
ing a soldier's pocket, "Relieving Guard." But he was soon 
promoted to other work ; and to the first and second volumes, 
at times of pressure, he even contributed a cartoon. This 
service was four times repeated in 1846, and again in 1S47 
and 1848, when Leech met with his serious bathing accident 


The History of ''Punch." 

at Bonchurch : on which occasion the gi-eat John was put to 
bed, as Dickens explained it, with a row of his namesakes 
round his forehead. The cartoon in question was that entitled 
" Dirty Father Thames," and a glance at it will show how 
great was the improvement in the draughtsman's art. New- 
man did not, however, confine himself to Punch all this 
while; he had worked as cartoonist to "The Squib " in 
1842; and again for the "Puppet-Show," "Diogenes," and 
H. J. Bvron's "The Comic Xews " in 1864. Then, dis- 
appointed at the little advance he had made in the world, 
he emigrated to the United States, where more lucrative 
employment awaited him. He had a greater sense of beauty 
and a more refined touch than most of his colleagues ; 
and though he did not shine as a satirist, he was alwavs 
well in the spirit of Punch. 

But the most interesting of Punch s 
earliest men before the advent of Leech 
was H. G. Hine, who up to 1895 ^^''^s 
the octogenarian Vice-President of the 
Institute of Painters in Water-Colours, 
whose broad and masterly drawings of 
poetic landscape have been the artistic 
wonder of recent years. He began to 
draw for Punch in September, 1841, 
and thenceforward bore with Xewman 
the brunt of the illustration. He was 
really a serious painter — a water-colour 
artist of strong aim and considerable 
accomplishment. Just before the start- 
ing of Puncli Landells had, as has already been explained, 
launched a landscape periodical called " The Cosmorama," 
and had conmnssioned Hine to go to the London Dock and 
make a drawing on the wood. The work was not new to 
him, as Wood, a master-engraver of the time, taking pity 
on the sense of foolish powerlessness with which every 
beginner is afflicted, had explained to him the secret of the 
craft. Landscape was thus his acknowledged line when he 
found himself at the Docks with his round of boxwood in 

11. (.. him;, \ .r.K.i. 

(From a Photograph by E. 
Wheeler, Brighton.) 



his hand. He marked off a square upon it, and, in order to 
"get his hand in," he made what would nowadays be caUed 
a remarque on the margin — a comic sketch of a dustman 
and his dog. The block was finished, and carried to Landells, 
who looked at it in some 
surprise. " Did you do 
that ? " said the North Coun- 
tryman, pointing to the dust- 
man. '' Would you draw 
sketches like that for 
Poonch f " ''But I'm not a 
figure-draughtsman," objected 
Hine. " Yes, you are ; and 
it's just what we want for 
Poouc/i." So Hine was en- 
rolled, and in his line be- 
came an exceedingly popular 
draughtsman. He began by 
making batches of the 
"blackies" aforesaid, design- 
ing them and their clever 
punning titles with the 
greatest freedom, unham- 
pered by editorial interfer- 
ence. He worked for Puncli 
until 1844, and rapidly be- 
came a contributor of the 
first importance, whose 
merits were fully appreciated. 
One cut in particular de- 
lighted Mark Lemon — that 
of " A Long Xap," in which a toper has fallen into a sleep 
so deep and protracted that a spider has spun a strong web 
from the man's nose to the bottle and the table before him.* 
"Upon my word!" cried Lemon on examining the block 
when it was delivered, " Mr. Hine is reallv tremendous ! " 
Hine had greater imagination and ingenuitv than Xewman, a 

* See Punch, p. 237, Vol. I. 


4i6 The History of '' Puxch." 

brighter fancy and keener wit ; and to him rather than to 
others would apphcation be made for the reahsation of new 
ideas. At Landells' request he produced the accompanying 
"project" for a Punch medal or seal ; which, however, was 
never carried into execution. His, too, were the stinging 
Anti-Graham Wafers, to which reference is made elsewhere ; 
and man}' other designs that went far to increase Pioich's 

He was chief stock-artist, so to say ; for Leech did not at 
once assume the commanding position on the paper that was 
soon to be his. And while Hine shared with him the honour 
of drawing "Punch's Pencillings," as the cartoons were called 
— several of the series of "Social Miseries" being from his 
hand — he produced from time to time the chief cut when it 
aspired to the dignity of a political caricature. 

After a time, however, the amount of work sent to Hine 
was greatlv reduced. It was now some time since he had 
contributed the whole of the cuts to the first "Almanac," 
but he was still an occasional cartoonist (Vols. HI., IV., and 
V.) ; so that he was the more surprised at being roughl}' — 
and, as he proved, unjustly — accused of being late with 
a block. Other unpleasantnesses, which seemed to him 
gratuitous, suggested the idea that he might not be wanted 
on Punch. He put the point blankly, and was reassured. 
Still, the quantity of work sent him diminished ; and as 
nothing came by Christmas, Hine accepted the offer of 
Christmas-work by the publisher of "The Great Gun" — for 
which, b)' the wa}', he never receixed payment. Then 
there suddenly arrived a mass of blocks from Punch ; but 
thev were returned with the message that, not hearing from 
his former proprietors, he had made other arrangements. 
And that was the end of his connection. Later on he worked 
for "Joe Miller the Younger," " Mephystopheles," and "The 
Man in the Moon," and used his pencil, in the true Spirit of 
a genuine sportsman, in pointing his well-barbed jokes against 
his old paper with as much enthusiasm as he had before given 
to its service. On page 153 of the second volume of PuncJi 
may be seen a little cut entitled " Choice Spirits in Bond " — 

HiNE Retires. Leech Advances. 417 

being the portraits of himself and the lanky William New- 
man in the dock of a police-court. Although fift3'-four 3'ears 
had passed, the strong resemblance of the little likeness could 
still be recognised by those who knew the artist in the last 
few months of his life. 

After the collapse of "The Man in the Moon" Hine 
dropped out of comic draughtsmanship. By this time, indeed, 
he was tired of the work, for he had begun to think in 
jokes, to turn every thought to ridicule, and to look upon 
conversation rather as raw material for pun-making than as a 
means of expressing and interchanging ideas. The last straw 
was an occasion when he spent half a night with Horace 
Mayhew in trying to make a joke to complete a series for 
" Cruikshank's Almanack" — the very situation in Pope's 
epigram : — 

" You beat your pate, and fancy wit will come ; 
Knock as you please, there's nobody at home." 

Meanwhile another had arisen who was destined to over- 
shadow for many years the rest of his colleagues, and while 
he lived to be the life and soul of the undertaking — Mr. 
Punch incarnate. This was John Leech, whose signature 
first appears on page 43 of the first volume. 

When Mr. Frith, R.A., sought to persuade the over- 
worked Leech to take a holiday, he added, just to drive the 
matter home : "If anything happened to you, who are the 
'backbone of Punchy what would become of the paper?" 
At which Leech smiled, sa}'s his biographer, and retorted, 
" Don't talk such rubbish ! Backbone of Punch, indeed ! 
Why, bless your heart, there isn't a fellow at work upon 
the paper that doesn't think that of himself, and with about 
as much right and reason as I should. Punch will get on 
well enough without me, or an}' of those who think them- 
selves of such importance." Li his lifetime none would have 
been found to share the speaker's views ; nevertheless. Punch 
— for all Leech's paramount importance to the paper — has 
maintained his prosperity, and more than doubled his lease 
of life since Leech laid down his pencil. Yet in his time he 

B B 


41 8 

The History of ''Punch." 

was as much the artistic Punch as Jerrold was the hterary ; 
and there are nearly as manv who still believe that Leech at 

(From the Portrait by Sir John E. Millais, Hart., R.A., in the National Portrait Gallery.') 

one time was Punch s Editor as accord the same unmerited 
honour to Jerrold. 

The story of Leech's early life has been already told. 
How he was the son of the luckless owner of the London 
coffee-house in Ludgate Hill ; how Flaxman saw his infantile 
drawino:s and declared he would be nothinc: but an artist — 
nay, " he i<oas an artist ; " how, at the Charterhouse, the gentle, 
nervous lad was schoolfellow of Thackera}', with whom he 
formed a passionate, life-long friendship ; and of yet another 

L eech's Ea rl y Effor ts. 419 

hearty friend, Mr. Xethercote ; how, when he was medical 
student at Bartholomew's Hospital, he contracted another 
evergreen friendship with Percival Leigh, and formed an 
acquaintanceship, long maintained, but never fiillv ripened, 
with another medico — Albert Smith, of Middlesex ; how 
his father's failure caused him to give up medicine and the 
knife in favour of art and the pencil — by the exercise of 
which, when he was still under Dr. Cockle, son of the pill- 
doctor, he had already fascinated his fellow-students, and in 
particular Percival Leigh — on whose initiative it was that 
the '' Comic Latin Grammar" was carried into execution. All 
this and more has ere now been recorded. But it all bears 
directh^ on his Punch career, and must not by any means be 

In 1836, when he was but nineteen years of age, he had 
made a bid for the unhappy Seymour's vacant place as 
Charles Dickens' illustrator ; but he had been already fore- 
stalled by ''Phiz," and Leech was perforce rejected, as 
Thackeray had been refused before him, and Buss dismissed. 
Leech was already a good draughtsman on wood, ha^'ing 
while resident with Orrin Smith the wood-engraver — he who 
had previously tried to magnetise the idea of a " London 
Charivari " into life — received many practical hints of the 
greatest artistic value. For some time afterwards he worked 
in harmony with his fellow-student of a literarv turn, whose 
noble brass-plate inscribed " Mr. Albert Smith, M.R.C.S., Sur- 
geon-Dentist ! " once brought upon the artist, says Percival 
Leigh, the candid chaff, of a vulgar street-urchin. "Good 
boy ! " said Leech, appreciating the attention and rewarding 
it with a penny. '' Now go and insult somebodv else." He 
drew furthermore upon the stone, and distinguished himself in 
"Bell's Life in London" — the paper to which several of the 
most eminent comic artists of the day then contributed — and 
in 1 84 1, five years after his first-pubhshed "Etchings and 
Sketchings, by A. Pen, Esq.," he issued in its complete form 
his " Children of the Mobility." It was at that time that 
Percival Leigh, having satisfied himself of the character and 
tone of the new comic paper, not only made his own debut 

B B 2 

420 The History of ''Punch." 

in it, but introduced his friend and colleague, John Leech — 
with what distressing result as to his full-page block of 
"Foreign Affairs" the chapter on cartoons discloses. {Sec p. 
173.) And here it may be added that all was not plain sailing 
between Leech and Punch at the commencement ; for soon after 
he resumed work he struck for higher terms. Until he got his 
way he did no more work for the paper — as the reader ma)' 
satisfy himself by turning to its pages ; and when he did, his 
triumph was visited, as has already been described, upon the 
heads of less talented contributors. It may safely be assumed 
that Leech knew nothing of this, for the gentleness of the 
man was such that he could not have suffered the idea that 
his success meant others' disad^'antage, 

Three things may be said to have brought Leech's powers 
as a humorous draughtsman prominently before the public 
—his illustrations to the "Comic Latin Grammar," the skit 
on the Mulready euAelope (the most successful of all the 
versions published), and his early Punch work. Mr. Frith 
tells of Mulready's indignation at Leech's drawing — not at 
the caricature itself, but at the leech in a bottle, by which 
the Academician took it for granted that the draughtsman 
meant to designate hifti by innuendo as a " blood-sucker ; " 
and of Leech's surprise and pain at being so suspected, and 
how the two men became fast friends ever after. Once a 
regular Punch man, Leech immediately expanded, and as 
quickly hit the taste and fancy of the public ; and from that 
day forward rarely did his hand or his humorous or tragic 
faculty play him false ; nor did the people falter in its praise 
or its allegiance. 

Although he expanded, he }'et took some time to settle 
down. Not until the sixth volume (1844) could he be con- 
sidered paramount in what was esteemed the higher walk of 
cartooning — a department which he subsequenth' shared, first 
with Doyle, and then with Tenniel. But it was in the social 
cuts that he excelled — in his pictures of low life that are 
never low ; in his great mastery in the delineation of char- 
acter and his gift of seeing humour in most scenes of e^■ery- 
day happening, and his power of recording comic conceptions, 

Thackeray on Leech. 421 

unfailingly and irresistibly. It is true that as Mr, Punch went 
up in the social scale Leech accompanied him in the rise — if, 
indeed, it was not Leech, together with Thackeray's powerful 
help, who elevated Punch. At the same time he sympathised 
profoundh' with the horrors of poverty and oppression, 
and looked kindly on gutter-children and on honest dirt 
and misery; and to the end he regarded the "snob," the 
'Arr}' of his day, with the genial contempt he had lavished 
on him at the beginning. Thackeray appreciated the change 
in the paper, and recorded it, too ; though he credits Jerrold 
with a policy which was nought but the policy of a comic 
paper softened in its asperities b}' time, and encouraged by 
the greater refinement of its Staff and of its more cultivated 

" Mr. Leech," said Thackeray, " survej's society from the 
gentleman's point of view. In old days, when Mr. Jerrold 
lived and wrote for that famous periodical, he took the other 
side ; he looked up at the rich and great with a fierce, a 
sarcastic aspect, and a threatening posture, and his outcry or 
challenge was : ' Ye rich and great, look out ! We, the 
people, are as good as you. Have a care, ye priests, wal- 
lowing on a tithe pig and rolling in carriages and four ; ye 
landlords, grinding the poor ; ye vulgar fine ladies, bullying 
innocent governesses, and what not — we will expose your 
vulgarity ; we will put down your oppression ; we will vindi- 
cate the nobilitv of our common nature,' and so forth. A 
great deal was to be said on the Jerrold side, a great deal 
was said — perhaps, even a great deal too much." And now, 
says Thackeray in effect. Leech looks at all these people 
with a certain respect for their riches, with an amiable 
curiosity concerning their footmen's calves. Xevertheless, to 
the end he was not kinder to Dives' oppression, less S3'mpa- 
thetic towards the troubles of Lazarus, nor more indulgent 
to the vulgarity of the snob ; nor a whit more tolerant of 
viciousness, affectation, or meanness of an}' kind. 

Of Leech's political work (for which at first he enter- 
tained so great a dislike) I say perhaps enough in dealing 
with what ma}' be called Pwich's Big Drum — the weekly 

422 Thr History of "Pu\ch" 

cartoon. Taken together, those designs might be held to 
represent a hfe's good work ; 5'et they represent but a frac- 
tion of what he executed during his seven-and-twenty years' 
hard labour. If after a close study of all his productions 
with pencil and etching-needle, you ask 3-ourself what con- 
stitutes his real life's-work, you will probably choose to 
ignore his book plates — even those to the Comic Histories 
of Rome and England, to the sporting novels of " Mr. 
Sponge," and the rest — and point to his " Pictures of Life 
and Character," as given forth in one continuous stream from 
1 84 1 to 1864. 

The "movements" and the "isms" and the creations of 
fashion, of nearly all of which we have a whole series 
spread over a long, but none too long a time, reflect in 
themselves alone the social history of our day — development 
of intellect and its antithesis, fashion in dress and language, 
art and literature, craze and affectation ; in short, the whole 
national evolution during a quarter of a century. It is 
amusing to glance at some of them — a few out of the very 
many — and sample the journalistic wit with which Leech 
eyed and illustrated the passing hour. 

The periodical wail of the British householder and his 
wife on the subject of the gi-eat "domestic difficulty" gave 
Leech a fund of anecdote that he was not slow to draw 
upon. He was himself a typical middle-class British house- 
holder, who liked to have everything nice and neat about 
him, including the pretty, amiable, zealous, h-less maidservant 
in nice white apron and clean print-dress. He closed his 
eyes and ears to Sydney Smith's discovery that all the 
virtues and most of the graces are not to be had for £'j 
a 3'ear. And so Leech gave us the series he entitles 
" Servantgalism," harshly illustrative for the most part of the 
comic side of what a later generation calls Slaveyism. And 
as Punch, chiefly under the influence of Thackeray, raised his 
eyes iVom Bloomsbury to Belgravia, and found equal fun 
and better sport in baiting the far more contemptible 
airs and graces of John Thomas, "Flunkeiana" became a 
fertile field from which he drew some of his most caustic 

Volunteers and Moustaches. 423 

productions. He made them the severer, too, that during 
the Crimean War and the dangers that threatened the land, 
Leech could not bear with patience the sight of "pampered 
menials " passing their time m relatively idle luxury, when 
they, together with linen-drapers' assistants and others en- 
gaged in what is really woman's work, ought rather to have 
been bearing arms, or at the very least drilling in the newly- 
formed force of Volunteers. 

Yet the Volunteers had not to thank Leech for anything 
much but chaff during the early years of the movement. If 
anything could snuft^ out patriotism, " The Brook Green 
Volunteer," the laughable satire on the Militia, would have 
done it, and the square into which that warrior formed 
himself would assuredl}" have been broken and dispersed. 
And truly this series, famous and still appreciated as it is, 
lost a good deal of its force from the presence of a fault 
not often found in Leech's work — grotesqueness of invention 
and undue exaggeration. In time Charles Keene made us 
forget the unintentional injustice Leech had done to a noble 
movement ; and as fate willed it, Mr. G. Haydon, who had 
greatly assisted the author of it. Sir J. C. Bucknill, became 
later an artistic contributor to Punch and a friend, not only of 
Leech, but of several of the most distinguished of the Staff. 

And after the Crimean War was over, there was a social 
upheaval known as "the great beard movement." Leech 
was very keen upon all this question of moustaches, and 
held with many others that no one had a right to them save 
the crack cavalry regiments. One day it happened that 
Leech, Tenniel, and Fritchett were riding together, and, agree- 
ing on the subject, they arrived at cross-roads, where, holding 
their crops together, they cried "We Swear!" — not to wear 
hair on lip or chin. In 1865 the unregenerate Mr. Pritchett 
went to Skye to practise water-colour and — to let his mous- 
taches grow ! Returning in due time to Tenniel' s house, he 
said nothing, but merely opened the door, and thrust in his 
face with an air of defiant resignation, and waited. Tenniel 
started. "You scoundrel!" he exclaimed; ^^ then I must!" 
And he did. But Leech was proof against this example of 

424 The History of '' Puxch." 

degeneracy, and to the end remained true to his views and 
his vow, although moustaches soon came into regular fashion. 

Yet moustache, beard, and whiskers have been a mine 
of fun to Leech — from the little Eton boy who tells the 
hairdresser, when he has cut his curls, just to give him a 
close shave, and who ties the major's whisker to his sister's 
ringlet ; to the snobs who, " giving to hairy nothings a local 
habitation and a name," flatter themselves that their stubbly 
chins will get them mistaken for " captings " at the very 
least ; and to the military Adonises who may boast that 
their silken beards and fierce moustaches lead a beauty by 
each single hair. One of the most amusing results of Leech's 
drawings of whiskered swells was Sothern's creation of 
" Lord Dundreary " — as the actor was always ready to pro- 
claim. But for the artist, this most comical character would 
have been nothinjj but the ordinarv stage-fool as it was at first 
designed, and the playgoers of two generations would never 
have held their aching sides at one of the most mirthful of 
modern roles. 

Then the series of hearty laughs that, in 1851, accompanied 
his handling of " Bloomerism " — that parent of our modern 
dress reform and tlie divided skirt, and certainly the 
ancestor of the ladv-bicyclist's costume ( " A skirt divided 
against itself cannot stand; it must sit upon a bicycle") — 
served to kill the thing that the natural modesty of Leech 
put down as unwomanly and his aesthetic sense as hideous. 
And the crinoline, to which the American in\ention was to 
afford an antidote, provides Leech with material for a 
hundred humorous points of \iew. For it grew and grew 
in monstrousness and outrageous proportions until 1861, when 
it began to dwindle, and bv such refuge as a " hooped petti- 
coat" can afford saved its dignitv as it made its welcome 
exit from the scene. 

And the Cochin-China Fancy, and the Table-Turning 
Craze (in respect to which Mark Le'mon declared that if 
Hope, the spiritualist, would give a convincing sc'a?ice in 
Whitefriars, Punch would recant), and the Racecourse, and 
the Great Exhibition, and Horsetaming, and a score of other 

Subjects and Types. 425 

subjects — whether pastime or fashion or phase — were ah used 
by Leech with imfaihng humour. The Chartist period of 
1848 was a great opportunity, happily seized, and some of 
the artist's sketches were the result of his personal observa- 
tion ; for he was himself sworn in, " Only loyalty and 
extreme love of peace and order made me do it," he said ; 
but none the more did he enjoy his nocturnal patrol from 
ten o'clock till one. 

And all his types — ^his dramatis persona;,, so to speak — 
the gent and his vulgar associates ; the Greedy Boy and the 
Comic Drunkard ; the Enfant Terrible, soon, it is devoutly 
hoped, to be packed off to school, and the dreadful School- 
boy home for the holidays ; the Choleric Old Gentleman 
and the comfortable Materfamilias ; Miss Clara and the 
Heav}' Dragoon ; the Italian Organ-grinder, Frenchman, 
Irishman, and Hebrew (Leech's four betes noires) ; the 
Rising Generation ; and all the rest — what a boxful of puppets 
they were for Mr. Punch's show ! And besides them the 
two or three distinct personalities he created ! There was 
Tom Xodd}' — the ridiculous little man who in real life was 
the estimable Mr. Mike Halliday, sometime clerk of the 
House of Lords, and latterly poet and successful artist, who 
was as pleased as Punch himself at the distinction conferred 
upon him and his doings by the artist, while all the time Leech 
was secretl}' flattering his kindh' self that his model could 
not by an}' means discover himself in pictures in which the 
features were so carefully altered — for all personalities were 
hateful to the considerate, sensitive humorist. And Mr. 
Briggs, the Immortal ! Of him whose creation is sufficient to 
render the year 1849 memorable in the annals of the land 
much has ere now been written — that type of a well-to-do 
British householder, delightful for his follies and endearing 
by his pluck, something of a lunatic, it must be admitted, 
yet more of a sportsman, and most of all a '' muff" — 
Pnncli s '' simple-minded Philistine paterfamilias." Many of 
his adventures, especially of house-keeping and its terrors, 
were based upon Leech's own experiences. For it was 
Leech who had those terrible builders, and who was taken 

426 The History of ''Punch" 

for a burglar by a policeman when trying to get in at his 
own window. Mr. Briggs' never-to-be-forgotten sensations of 
a spill from his horse, as recorded by Leech, were the result 
of the artist's own bewildering experience — as he confessed 
to "Cuthbert Bede " — and many of his adventures in salmon- 
fishing, grouse and pheasant shooting, and deer-stalking were 
founded on his visits to Sir John MiUais in Scotland. "All 
the pools on the Stanley Water," says one authority, ''are 
sacred to the memory of Briggs, for it was Leech's favourite 
fishing-ground; and 'Hell's Hole,' 'Death's Throat,' 'Black 
Stones,' and many other cuts, may all be recognised from 
his humorous pictures, the originals of which are in the pos- 
session of Colonel Stuart Sandeman, the proprietor. The 
Stanley Water begins below Burnmouth." Many of his 
fishing-sketches were made at Whitchurch in Hampshire, 
when staying with Mr. Haydon aforesaid. 

Half Leech's popularity came, probably, from his sketches 
in the • Row and in the hunting-field. Even so hearty a 
hater of horse-flesh as Ruskin— so far as he could hate 
animals at all — has declared that the most beautiful drawing 
in all Pimch is Miss Alice on her father's horse— " her, with 
three or four young Dians." Leech's sympathy for horses 
was natural to the man, and had no little influence in toning 
down those rampant ideas of Democracy and Socialism to 
which Thackeray referred. In the opinion of many, not all 
the Conservative party, landlords and House of Peers to- 
gether, will, in the great coming struggle with " King Demos," 
exert against him and his Socialism a fraction of the power 
of resistance that will ultimately be found in the national 
love of horses and of sport, whether in the hunting-field, 
on the racecourse, or in the sporting column of the daily 
paper ; and this belief John Leech himself entertained. 

Leech, whose pecuniary resources were always being 
drained by relations other than those of his own immediate 
household, and on behalf of whom it is generally admitted 
that he worked himself to death, rode and hunted, as he 
said, not from extravagance, but in order that he might be 
fit and able to do his work. And his riding, which was a 

In the Hunting-field. 427 

necessity to himself, was not less indispensable to Punch, for 
a very considerable amount of the Paper's support in the 
Country depends upon his "horsey sketches." Without them 
English life would not be properly represented, particularly 
in its most delightful and engaging of pastimes, and without 
them English support — from that prosperous class to which 
Punch specially appeals — would hardly be forthcoming. 

But, for all his love of horses and the hunting-field, 
Leech was not a particularl}- good rider, and a friend of his 
tells how he laughingl}' insisted on buying from him a horse 
that was not sound in his wind, as he could not run away. 
Yet he poked good-natured fun at the riding of his friend Sir 
John Millais, and once told him that as he followed him in 
the field he had conceived the original idea of drawing some 
" triangular landscapes " as seen through Millais' legs. He 
satirised himself with equal good-temper in the drawing in 
which a Cockney horseman reins up at the edge of a steep 
hill — vou might almost call it a hole — down the side of 
which the rest are scampering, with the words " Oh, if this 
is one of the places Charley spoke of, I shall go back ! " 
Indeed, in spite of all his sport, he almost agreed with 


" There's something in a horse 

That I can alwaj-s honour, but never could endorse'^ 

Yet, like his great rival "Phiz," who rode with the 
Surrey hounds, he loved the cover-side ; but as time went 
on, and youthful ardour cooled, he would rather attend the 
meet than follow in the chase. As he favoured the Pucke- 
ridge hounds, it comes about that most of his landscape back- 
grounds are \-iews in Hertfordshire. And when he preferred 
the more sober delights of the Row— not the same Row we 
now scamper along from Hyde Park Corner, but the old 
one along by the Serpentine, and, for a time, in Kensington 
Gardens— his tall graceful figure always attracted attention ; 
and when he mounted his pony, which he called " Red 
Mullett," people who recognised him would turn and remark 
that Mr. Punch had come out for a ride upon dog Toby. 

But it was not bv his comic faculty alone that John 


The History of ''Punch." 

Leech helped to make Punch great, nor even by his pohtical 
work. It was also by his frank demonstration of that deep 
feeling which is often called ''passion," whether love, or 

sympathy, or hot 
indignation. His 
love of children, 
even when he 
laughs at them, is 
surpassed , by few 
other artists or 
writers, even by 
those of Mr. Punch 
— that adorer of 
first youth and 
green - apple and 
salad days. The 
enthusiasm with 
which he threw 
himself into all 
attacks upon abuses 
showed him a hot- 
blooded philan- 
thropist. It was 
not for the first 
time that in his 
" Moral Lesson of 
the Gallows" he 
used his Hogarth- 
ian power against 
the scandal and 
brutalising horror 
of public execu- 
tions. In the little "social" entitled "The Great Social 
Evil," which so electrified Punch's readers at the time, 
there appears the hand of the reformer, perhaps ; but 
primarily a whole heartful of wide sympathy and pathos, 
from which, with true instinct, the artist has banished every 
suggestion of humour, retaining only with a few skilful strokes 


Time : Midnight. A Sketch not a Hundred Miles 

from the Haymarket. 

Bella : " Ah ! Fanny ! How long have you been 

gay ? " 

{¥rom. Punch, 12th Sept., 1857, Vol. .\.\.\iii.) 

Leech's ''Little Dumplings." 429 

the sad and pathetic reaht}- of the social problem. This 
drawing was made some time before, but ]Mark Lemon, witli 
less courage than he showed in the publication of the "Song 
of the Shirt," hesitated to insert it ; and it is traditionally 
asserted that it was at the time of the Editor's temporary 
absence through illness that Leech insisted upon its publica- 
tion. And who can forget the contemptuous drawing of 
tlie brutalised dancers at Mabille (1847), or the other, made 
in full anger and disgust at the sight of a Spanish bull- 
fight "with the gilt off," after he had attended one, when 
towards his life's end he visited Biarritz for a few days in 
fruitless search of health? It is a terrible page, and probably 
touches the limit of what is permissible in art. Shirley 
Brooks called it " a grim indictment of a nation pretending 
to be ciyilised ; " and in England, at least, it met with a 
throb of responsive emotion and of cordial appro\'al. 

Passing from these things to a more pleasing one, we 
are struck with Leech's exceptional love of beauty. Never 
did Nature seem more delightful than in his cuts — in 
those dainty backgrounds in which the loveliest scenery is 
so skilfull)^ reproduced. " What plump young beauties," cries 
Thackeray, " those are with which Mr. Punch's chief con- 
tributor supplies the old gentleman's pictorial harem ! " It 
is true, the}^ are nearly always the same girl, this ideal of 
PiDich's — short in stature, simple and pouting and laughing, 
with big eyes and rounded chin, with bewitching dimples 
and pretty ringlets ; but then this ideal, this "little dumpling," 
was none other than Mrs. Leech ! The artist had seen her in 
the street in 1843, had fallen head over ears in love with 
her upon the spot, followed her to her home, looked up the 
director}' to ascertain her name, obtained an introduction, 
and had straightway wooed and won her. " Now I'll bet 
ten to one," he wrote to Percival Leigh, as soon as he had 
been accepted, " that your reverence will think rue the 
oddest person in the world, at a moment like the present, 
to think of writing to a friend ; but I can't help sending you 
a line or two to sav that I have been made a 'happy man.' 
. . . Never laugh arain at tlie union of 2 soles (i.e., two 

430 The History of "Punch." 

flats) ; at any rate, don't expect me to join in the guffaw." 
And so Miss Annie Eaton became Mrs. John Leech, the object 
of her husband's devotion and of his inspired pencil. It is 
true that his young ladies and his servants are all much of 
the same type ; but, in spite of Mr. Henry James' curious 
judgment that Leech had no great sense of beauty, he has 
usually been otherwise adjudged, as in the " poem " by Albert 
Smith and Edmund Yates — assuredh' in hamiony with most 
men's views — where he is spoken of as 

" ' Handsome Jack,' to whose dear girls and swells his life Punch 


And so it comes about that Punch's pages are eloquent with 
portraits of Mrs. Leech, who, with her children, became the 
very "orchard" of Leech's eye. The last block of all on which 
the artist was engaged was one to be called " An Afternoon 
on the Flags ; " it represented a complimentary dog - fancier 
comparing the points of beauty in a dog with those of the 
lady before him, but it was still unfinished when he fell 
back in his bed, dead from the fatal breast-pang. 

Leech would never employ artists' models — parth' because 
his chic drawing, like Sir John Tenniel's, came natural to his 
genius, and his memory was extraordinarih^ retentive, and 
partly because when he began to draw for Punch, and for 
a long while after, it was unheard-of for black-and-white men 
on comic papers to do anything so seriously academic. But 
though he said that he had not in his life made half-a-dozen 
drawings from Nature, he was always sketching "bits" for 
use, and trusted to his memory and imagination for the rest. 
On one or two occasions he would ask Mrs. Hole, the wife of 
the Dean of Rochester, to sit for him in her riding-habit — but 
this was the nearest approach he ever made to the "model." 
He would make his first sketch and then trace it on to the 
block, finishing his rapid drawing with considerable delibera- 
tion, yet so quickh' that he would often send off three draw- 
ings before dinner-time. He was extremely particular about 
the drawing, and the engi-aving, too, of his boots and feet, 
and expressed boundless admiration of Tenniel's power in that 

(A Skit by Sir J. E. Millais, Bart., R.A. By Permission of JV. IV. Fctin, Esq.) 

432 The History of " Puxch." 

direction. " Talk of drawing ! " he exclaimed to ]\Ir. Frith ; 
" what is mv drawing compared to Tenniel's ? Look at the 
way that chap can draw a boot ; why, I couldn't do it to 
save my life ! " Like all other artists, he was constantly 
asked by friends what paper was the best and what pencils 
he used. " H.B.," he would reply ; " if you can't put it 
down with that, you can't put it down at all." His sim- 
plicity of means matched the simplicity of his art, and both 
the transparent simplicit)' of his character. His ^'iews relative 
to private persons' privacy prevented him from including 
portraiture in his drawings other than that of public 
men. But to get these, and especially members of the 
House of Commons, he would take considerable trouble. I 
have seen an extremely cordial letter addressed to him by 
Mr. Speaker Denison, in which special facilities were accorded 
him to witness the opening of Parliament. 

As a draughtsman Leech has been admirably placed by 
Mr. du ]Maurier, who calls him a perfect ballad-writer as 
compared with the more scientific counterpointing of Charles 
Keene. And I would remark that it was above all as a 
pencil and wood draughtsman that he excelled ; his etchings 
— of which he made two-score for the Pocket-Books — are 
not, technically considered, up to the sustained level of either 
Cruikshank or "Phiz." But his sense of freedom on the 
block he makes us feel ; he revels in it, and thereby imparts 
spontaneity to his drawings far beyond what we see in his 
plates. Yet his composition is almost uniformly excellent, 
whether in line or light and shade, and apparently as care- 
fully thought out as though an oil picture and not a Punch 
cut was the work he had in hand. The relation between 
his landscapes and his figures has often been applauded ; 
and a foreign critic has exclaimed, with unfeigned surprise 
and admiration, " Leech and Keene could not only draw Mght 
■ — they could even draw the wind ! " And with all this he 
told his story in his drawings more completely than any man 
of his day ; he appealed to every class of society, and touched 
them all with equal facility, with equal good-humour, bright- 
ness, and beauty. His power of legend- writing, too, was 

Lfgeaw- Writing. 433 

remarkable — his explanator\- lines beneath the drawings beine 
as concise and happy as what they described. Says ]\Ir. 
Silver : " As brevity is the soul of wit, he always made his 
' legends ' as terse as possible, first jotting them down hastilv, 
and condensing while he drew. I have, for instance, a slight 
drawing of a heavy pig-faced fanner admiring with his wife a 
fat pig in its stye. Beneath the sketch is scribbled ' There 
now ; that's my style ! I call him a perfect love ! ' As the 
joke lay in the likeness of the owner to the pig, the last 
phrase seemed redundant, and therefore was suppressed 
before the drawing went to Punch." It is curious that with 
this gift, he should have contributed only once, so far as I 
can ascertain, to the literary portion of Punch, and then 
merely some mock " Verses for Pantomime ]\Iusic " — strictlv 
speaking, for the harlequinade — (January 4th, 1S45J, designed 
to show the fatuous idiotcy of those compositions. 

Contrar}' to what might have been expected in so pro- 
lific an artist. Leech never for a moment entertained the 
sentiment not unusual among comic artists — "je prends mon 
bien la oil je le trouve." He was even diffident about accept- 
ing a suggestion for a joke. His own observation gave him 
the vast majority of his ''pictures of life and character," but 
he would occasionally accept with a quiet undemonstrati^•e 
smile some of the many proposals that were submitted to 
him. You might find it in Punch next week, or next year ; 
but if the giver were an artist too, he would hesitate to 
make use of it, lest he might wrong a brother-pencil. He 
often figures in his own cuts, as in " The Disma}' of Mr. 
Jessamy on being told that he will spoil the whole thing 
[private theatricals] if he doesn't Shave off his Whiskers " 
(Almanac, 1854 — his own whiskers which he always regarded 
with a sort of mock-tender pride.) To his own little son we 
owe the delightful cut of the child who reminds the new 
nurse that he is one of those children who can only be 
managed by kindness, " so please get me a cake and an 
orange ; " like that other Punch youngster who, aping mamma, 
faintly asks, " Is there such a thing as a bun in the house ? " 
" Astonishingly quick Leech was," says Mr. Silver, " to seize 
c c 

434 The History of ''Punch." 

on any sight or subject that seemed to have some humour 
in it. I can call to mind, for instance, how I chanced to see 
a chimney-sweep with his hand held to his eyes, as he was 
passing a street-door while the mat was being shaken. I told 
Leech of the incident ; for, covered as he was with soot, the 
sweep seemed over-sensitive. In a very few minutes the scene 
was sketched most funnily, and was then drawn on the 
wood. The sketch hangs in my billiard-room, and the}^ who 
please may turn to Punch and see the drawing. Another 
time I recollect we noticed some big buoys which were just 
the shape of fishing-floats, and which I said that Gulliver 
might have seen so used in Brobdingnag. ' Not a bad idea,' 
said Leech, and he made a hasty sketch then. Next morn- 
ing the result appeared upon the wood, and soon afterwards 
in Punch, with a ' legend ' which I quote from memory 
only : — ' Is'pose you sometimes catch some biggish fish here, 
eh, old Cockywax ? ' ' Why, yes ; and them's the floats we 
uses ; see, young Cockywax ? " 

From Millais he had many a joke ; and when the two close 
friends were separated, the former would send him sketches 
of the idea. Several of these Leech left behind him, having 
only taken advantage of two — the protection that plaid is 
supposed to afford in the Highlands, when the unhappy 
novice who puts it on wrestles with it in a high wind ; and 
the de\*ice of a couple of artists for defying the Scotch midges 
— a comic, balloon-like envelope for the head. From Dean 
Hole came that immortal joke of the yokel at a great 
country dinner, who on tossing oft' his liqueur-glass of 
Cura^oa, the first he has ever tasted, calls to the waiter that 
he'll "tak' some o' that in a moog ; " and it was from a 
passage in one of the Dean's letters to the effect that in a 
long run he had only had three mishaps on his promising 
young chestnut, that Leech invented the drawing of " A 
Contented Mind " — wherein the mud - bespattered young 
hopeful has increased the number of falls to five. And he 
loved to watch the sons of his colleague, Gilbert Abbott 
a Beckett — both of them in due time called to the Table 
— and to base upon the mischievous adventures and the 

Leech's Joke-Providers. 435 

characteristic invention of the young pickles many a laugh- 
able drawing. They were the originals of the boys who, 
with a ten-and-sixpenny box of tools and a sufficiency of 
nails, in the absence of their parents put the furniture of the 
house in a state of thorough repair ! ! And on a skating 
experience of one of them — ]Mr. Arthur a Beckett— comes 
that well-known design of a youth at the mercy of a skate- 
tout at the ice-edge. '' Look out ! " he cries ; " you are 
running the gimlet into my heel ! " " Never mind, sir," 
responds the man, persuasively ; '' better 'ave 'em on firm ! " 

From Charles Dickens, from Mr. Frith, Mr. Holman Hunt, 
and JMr. Horsley, R.A., Leech also accepted happy thoughts ; 
and from an " Eton boy," the smart reply of a belle of a 
ballroom to the young Oxford man who "couldn't get on 
there without women's society " — " Pity you don't go to a 
girls' school, then ! " The Eton bo}" claimed and received 
remuneration, to the amount of a couple of guineas, which 
came out of Leech's generous pocket, accompanied by a 
present and good counsel — a form of acknowledgment, how- 
ever, which was " not to be taken as a precedent." Sometimes, 
too. Leech would re-draw or touch up sketches of good jokes 
sent in by outsiders ; but on such occasions he, according to 
the usual practice of the Punch men, never signed the 
drawing so made. 

The melancholy of Leech, which probably found relief in 
his more sarcastic and serious drawings, was one of the pre- 
dominant features of his character. Sadness and dejection are 
often the birthwrong of the humorist, as we have seen in 
the cases of Gillray, Seymour, Andre Gill, and Labiche, and 
many others of Punch's own day. But Leech's gravity be- 
longed to a mind too well-balanced to overreach itself, too 
genuine for false sentiment. Moreover, he " could be a merry 
fellow when harmless fun was demanded." So says Sir John 
Millais, who after Thackeray, and perhaps Percival Leigh, 
was the friend Leech loved the best — for more than any 
others of the Punch Staff, cordial as his friendship with 
them was. Sometimes his depression would make him think, 
says Dean Hole, that he was "wasting his time on unworthy 
c c 2 

436 The History of "Punch!' 

objects and an inferior method," which was exactly what 
Kenn}' ^Meadows told him. It is true that the said Bohemian 
had, in a soberer moment, assured him ot his immeasurable 
superiority to Kenny's self; but as the wine flowed, the 
truth came out of it, it appeared that Meadows considered 
his own illustrations of Shakespeare of yastly greater account 
than the mere comic sketches of young John Leech. 

Leech, it seemed, could be as humorous as he pleased, and 
as whimsical. When his children misbehayed, he would correct 
them by making a sketch of their " naught}^ faces ; " and he was 
always ready to turn a joke upon himself. He made merciless 
fun of sea-sickness — yet what is there so comic in sea-sickness, 
after all, that we always laugh at it, just as we laugh at the 
toothache, which George Cruikshank was so fond of carica- 
turing ? — the suffering, in both cases awful beyond the power 
of words to express. One would almost be led to belieye 
that Leech shared the immunity of the robust scoffers whom 
one usually sees behind a big cigar on board the yacht or 
steamboat. Yet when he crossed to Boulogne on a yisit to 
Dickens, and was receiyed with uproarious applause from 
what Americans call the " side-walk committee," by reason 
of his superior greenness and more abject misery, he was 
quite pleased, and said with the utmost gratification that he 
felt he had made a great hit. His companionship with 
Dickens was frequent ; and when, in 1848, he was oyerthrown 
by a waye while bathing at Bonchurch, and receiyed a slight 
concussion of the brain, the noyelist rendered him the greatest 
medical service. On that occasion and the week after the 
cartoons were executed b}' Doyle and Newman respectiyely, 
while Thackeray filled the space usually occupied by Leech's 
smaller cuts. 

His prejudices were to some extent the prejudices of 
Thackeray. That he should haye shared Gilbert a Beckett's 
dislike of Jews was perhaps to be accounted for b}^ his haying 
in his youth been detained on two occasions in "sponging- 
houses," though through no fault of his own ; and yisiting the 
sins of the lowest upon the whole race, as is the orthodox 
practice, he displayed towards them something of Alonzo 

Prejudices and Hatred. 437 

Cano's ill-will and more than his power of ill-doing. Simi- 
larly, towards Irishmen and Frenchmen he showed the same 
hearty prejudice, not iintinged, perhaps, with patriotism ; and 
of that Thackera}' was led to write : " We trace in his work 
a prejudice against the Hebrew nation, against the natives 
of an island much celebrated for its verdure and its wrongs. 
These are lamentable prejudices, indeed ; but what man is 
without his own ? " Yet they were honestly entertained, and 
acted upon according to the lights of Punch which at that 
time were full aflame. 

But these playful dislikes paled beside the hatred he 
bore to organ-grinders — a hatred as unrelenting as the organ- 
grinders themselves. For this he had only too sound a reason, 
for it was the}^ who, grinding his overworked nerves, were 
destined literally to play him into his grave. As early as 
1843 he began his campaign against them in Punchy and he 
never relaxed it until his death. Morbidly timid of all noise, 
he loved to sta}' at some quiet English seaside place, " where 
the door-knockers were dieted to three raps a day ; " but he 
writhed most under the sound of the organ, and not Hogarth's 
Enraged Musician endured half the torture that Leech suffered 
in ph3^sical and nervous agonv. He appealed with his pencil 
to the law ; he ridiculed the barbarous persons, such as Lord 
Wilton, who '' rather liked it ; " he portrayed the effect of these 
t3Tants of the street upon the sick and on the worker; and 
he never spared the offenders themselves. Once, indeed, he 
was goaded into showing one of these dirty persons leading a 
louse, like a monkey, by a string ; but after a few copies had 
been struck off (and included in the parcel for Scotland), the 
printing-press was stopped, and the " realism " was cut from 
the block. From the first contribution, in which an old lady 
was supposed to advertise for a professor of mesmerism — a 
discover}' much talked about at that time — in order to mes- 
merise all the organs in her street, at so much per organ, down 
to the end, some scores of drawings were directed against his 
unnatural eneni}', who literall}' drove him from house to house. 
Even when he took final refuge at his delightful residence, 
6, The Terrace, Kensington — now, alas ! removed to make 


The History of "Punch! 

way for showy shops— and fitted it with double windows, he 
stili could ^et no rest. Standing with Mr. Silver under the 


"••'——■ II Mlt'' 

\(_Dra'Mn by John Fuiicylcve, R.I.) 

tree beneath whose shade Thackeray, Keene, and Leech loved 
to foregather round his a I fresco dinner-table, I have hearkened 

The Torture of ''Street Music." 


to the pretty clink, clink, clink, of a far-distant smith as he 
smote his hammer upon the anvil, and, wondering that so 
sweet a sound could trouble any man, I have realised how 
shattered must have been the sufferer's nervous system as 
he neared his end. 

When 'Mx. 'SI. T. Bass, M.P., brought in his private Bill to 
regulate " street music," Mark Lemon sent him an eloquent 

'■&i '•MPviiJ^i 



(Draivn by John Fulleylove, R.I.) 

letter of support, in which he touchingly dwelt on the torments 
suffered by his friend. " The effect," he wrote, " upon his 
health — produced, on my honour, by the causes I have named 
— is so serious that he is forbidden to take horse exercise, or 
indulge in fast walking, as a palpitation of the heart has been 
produced — a form of angina pectoris, I believe — and his friends 
are most anxiously concerned for his safety. He is ordered 
to Homburg, and I know that the expatriation will entail a 


The History of ''Punch.' 

loss of nearly £^o a week upon him just at present. I am 
sure I need not withhold from you the name of this poor 
gentleman — it is Mr. John Leech." 

The artist only sur\'ived this appeal for half a year^ and 
died before he could enjoy any relief from ^Ir. Bass's meagre 
Bill. But the public was loud in denunciation of the nuisance 

{From a Sketch. /or " Pjtnch" ly John Leech.) 

when they learned that he who had made their lives so 
much merrier for a quarter of a century had been harassed 
into the grave. " Carlyle," wrote 'Sh. Moncure Conway, " who 
suffered from the same fraternity, mingled with his sorrow 
for Leech some severe semions against that kind of libertv 
which 'pemiitted Italian foreigners to invade London and 
kill John Leech, and no doubt hundreds of other ner\^ous 
people who die and make no sign ! ' " Leech's last drawing 
appears on p. i88 (November 5th, 1S64), in which an Irishman 
is shown thoroughly enjoying the after-effects of a fight, his 


c <■> 

' >■ 

" w"» 







■■ < 


-s '^-■ 


- 7 



■ r--- 


■■ ■i^.i 




X" ' 


■ 'O 






































442 The History of ''Punch" 

face having been pummelled out of all recognition. It is full 
of fun and life and spirit, and gives no hint that he who drew 
it would delight the world no more. 

And when the news went forth that John Leech was 
dead, a hush seemed to fall on the country, as it had done 
ten months before, when Thackeray died, and as it did again a 
few }ears after, on the death of Dickens. The three men 
all died sudden deaths, and Leech felt and declared that 
Thackera3''s was the knell of his own. '^ I saw the remains 
of the poor dear fellow," he said, '' and, I assure you, I can 
hardly get over it. A happ}- or merry Christmas is out of 
the question." What wonder, then, that on hearing that 
Leech had followed, ]\Irs. Thackeray Ritchie should have 
exclaimed, " How happy my father will be to meet him ! " 

'' I fancy Thackeray was tired of hfe," said Leech in his 
deep bass voice to his Punch colleague Mr. Henr}^ Silver. 
" At these words I wondered much," says the latter gentle- 
man, " as any 3'oung man might who failed to see beneath 
the surface of a loved and prospering life. ' I feel somehow 
I sha'n't sun'ive him long,' he added rather wearil}' ; * and 
I shouldn't much care either, if it were not for my family.' 
Then, after a pause, he said more cheerfully, ' But I can do 
some work yet. And at any rate, thank Heaven ! they 
needn't send the hat round.' " But they had need, and 
they did. After his death Punch made sturdy, repeated, 
and successful efforts, not onh' to collect a fund for the 
artist's family, but also to make known the facts of his 

Punch's tribute to his mighty sen'ant befitted the occasion : 
" The simplest words are best where all words are vain. 
Ten days ago a great artist in the noon of life, and with 
his glorious mental faculties in full power, but with the 
shade of physical infirmity darkening upon him, took his 
accustomed place among friends who have this day held 
his pall. Some of them had been fellow-workers with him 
for a quarter of a century, others for fewer years ; but to know 
him well was to love him dearly, and all in whose name 
these lines are written moum for him as a brother. His 

Leech's Funeral. 443 

monument is in the volumes of which this is one sad leaf, 
and in a hundred works which, at this hour, few will not 
remember more easily than those who have just left his 
grave. While Society, whose every phase he has illustrated 
with a truth, a grace, and a tenderness heretofore unknown 
to satiric art, gladly and proudly takes charge of his fame, 
they, whose pride in the genius of a great associate was 
equalled by their affection for an attached friend, would 
leave on record that they have known no kindlier, more 
refined, or more generous nature than that of him who has 
been thus earh' called to his rest." 

He was taken to the cemetery in the same hearse that 
had carried Douglas Jerrold to his last abode. Mark Lemon, 
Shirley Brooks, Tom Taylor, Horace Mayhew, F. M. Evans, 
John Tenniel, Henry Silver, F. C. Bumand, J. E. ]\Iillais, 
and Samuel Lucas were the pall-bearers ; around his grave, 
close to where Thackeray la}', stood the whole Punch Staff 
and man}' friends who loved him ; and Dean Hole com- 
pleted the Burial Service in sad and broken tones. 




William Harvey — Mr. Birket Foster — Kenny Meadows— His Joviality — Alfred 
" Crowquill " — Sir John Gilbert— Exit "Rubens" — Hablot Knight Browne 
("Phiz") — Henry Heath — Mr. R. J. Hamerton — W. Brown — Richard 
Doyle — Desires Pseudonymity — His Protest against Punch'' s "Papal 
Aggression" Campaign — Withdraws — His Art — Epitaph by Punch — Henry 
Doyle — T. Onwhyn — " Rob Roy " Macgregor — William McConnell — Sir 
John Tenniel — His Career — And Technique — His Early Work — Cartoons — 
His Art — His Memory and its Lapses— " Jackides " — Knighthood. 

Three other names belong to the year 1841 : Ashley, William 
Harvey, and Mr. Birket Foster — the second distinguished 
landscape artist who may be said to have been raised upon 
Punch. Of the first-named, nothing need be said, but that he 
contributed a single sketch and no more. William Harvey, 
however, stands on a different fo'oting, yet his employment on 
Punch is inexplicable. He had no real humour, and, what is 
perhaps more to his credit, he pretended to none ; nor did he 
take pains, as so many do, to prove it. Kenny Meadows, we 
are told, used to rally him on his excessive sense of graceful- 
ness, which stood in the way of anything like truthful repre- 
sentation. " Beauty," he would say, '' is Harvey's evil genius, 
and grace his damnation." It hardly required the couple of 
initials ("A" and "E" on pp. 144 and 146 of the first vol.), 
conceived and carried out in the Birket Foster manner, with 
landscape backgrounds and field-sport symbols, to prove that 
Nature had not intended the artist for a Punch draughtsman. 
He was far better fitted for the illustration of " Knight's 
Pictorial Shakespeare" than for comic draughtsmanship. And 
when he had spread consternation in the office by sending 
in a charge of twelve guineas for the third wrapper, which 
he had been commissioned to design — money never being 
scarcer than at that moment — the proprietors immediately 

AIr. BiRKET Foster. 445 

became equally convinced that such was not his vocation, and 
his connection with the paper ceased forthwith. 

I said he drew •' in the Birket Foster manner," for that 
young draughtsman, who was at the time one of Landells' 
apprentices, had already begim to draw initials on p. 85 of 
Punch's first volume — an " O," consisting of a laurel wreath 
with a Lifeguardsman charging through. These initials — 
there were thirteen in 1841, eleven in the following vear, 
and two in 1843 — were remarkable work for a bov of 
seventeen ; and still more remarkable was the fact that he 
should be entrusted, even at a pinch, with the execution of 
a cartoon. It is true that this was only an adaptation of 
Cruikshank's plate of " Jack Sheppard cutting his name on 
the Beam" — a design highly appreciated at a moment when 
the fortunes of Harrison Ainsworth's young housebreaker 
were being followed with breathless interest by every section 
of society ; and it is not less a fact that the head of Lord 
John Russell was touched up by Henning. Still the achieve- 
ment is as remarkable as coming from an artist of Mr. 
Birket Foster's temperament, as those other cartoons, executed 
in "The Censor" at a later period, by Professor Herkomer. 
But this was not all he did, for to him are to be credited 
also a few miscellaneous illustrations, as well as those 
extremely French-looking designs which he imitated, by 
order, from drawings by Gavarni for a novelette by L^court 
(pp. 262, 263 and 275, Vol. I.). As an artist he was entirely 
untaught, save for Brine's quaint advice, and for the counsel 
of Crowquill that in figure-drawing he should make dots 
first for the head and chief joints, as an assistance. For a 
time he followed these strange indications on the ro3'al road 
to drawing, and on them, perhaps, he based to some extent 
the illustrations which he made for book-covers, together 
with Charles Keene, for Mr. Edmund Evans — who, it may 
not be out of place here to repeat, now so well known as 
the engraver and publisher of Miss Kate Greenaway's picture 
books, was a fellow-pupil of Birket Foster's with " Daddy " 
Landells. He, too, made a couple of drawings for Punch in 
1842, when he was no more than sixteen : the first a 

446 The History of "Punch." 

"blackie," entitled "Train'd Animals" — representing a trainful 
of wild beasts (p. io8, Vol. III.), and the other an initial ; 
and his name appears as well as the engraver of one of 
''Phiz's" designs in "Punch's Valentines." It occurred to him 
a little later on to buy up '' remainders " ot unsaleable novels, 
to employ clever artists to illustrate some stirring scene of 
love, adventure, or revenge, and with this design on the 
boards to place the book for sale on the railway bookstalls. 
His shrewdness met with a rich reward ; the picture sold 
the book ; and it often happened that a book that had failed 
egregiously on its first appearance, would run into two or 
three editions when presented as a railway novel with a 
cover sufficiently startling or absorbing in its interest. 

An unprecedented, and an unrepeated, incident occurred 
in 1842. In that year there appeared a number of drawings 
b}' Gavarni (apart from those re-drawn by Mr. Birket Foster), 
and something has been made b}' commentators of the early 
enterprise of the Editor in inviting the contributions of the 
eminent French master of caricature. But as a matter of 
fact Gavarni was not invited at all, nor did he ever draw 
for Punch. These blocks, and the one by Gagniet, had simply 
been bouglrt up by the publishers, and used after they had 
appeared in " Les Parisiens peints par Eux-Memes " as well 
as in the English translation of 1840. The use of cliches, 
it should be stated, has never since been resorted to. When 
Gavarni did make a prudence-visit to England in 1847 he 
held aloof from Punch, perhaps on account of his former 
connection with " The Great Gun." His principal achieve- 
ment here was to offend the Queen, Thackera}', Dickens, 
and others, b}' coolly ignoring their proffered hospitality and 
friendly advances. 

In this same volume first appeared a notable quintet — 
Kenn}' Meadows, Alfred '' Crowquill," W. M. Thackeray, Sir 
John Gilbert, and " Phiz " (Hablot Knight Browne). 

Few men of his da}' enjoyed so great a ^'ogue as Kenny 
Meadows. His pencil was for many years in extraordinary 
demand ; and although as an artist he could not stand 
against his great contemporary George Cruikshank, his 

Kenny Meadows. 


popularity — among publishers, at least — if not as great, was 
nearly as extensive. His work is more than half forgotten 
now, but the memor}^ of his name survives ; and to speak 
of " Kenny Meadows " is to recall the typical art of the 
illustrator and (such as it was) of the comic draughtsman 
of the first half of the century. 

Kenny Meadows — he dropped the preliminary "Joseph"" 
for reasons of '' professional distinction " 
— had first met Douglas Jerrold, in com- 
pany with Laman Blanchard, in Dun- 
combe's shop, as earh^ as 1828, and in 
due time was emploved to illustrate 
'' Heads of the People," which Jerrold 
edited in 1840, and for which he had 
secured the co-operation of Thackeray, 
Leigh Hunt, Samuel Lover, William 
Howitt, and other literary lights. Henry 
Vizetelly, who knew Meadows well, wrote 
to me but a few months before his death 
of his acquaintance with the artist. " He 
was," said he, ''witty and epigrammatic in conversation. He 
was a singularly incorrect and feeble draughtsman, but abounded 
with clever and often highly poetic ideas. Like most of the 
members of the Mulberry and Shakespeare Clubs, he knew all 
the principal passages in Shakespeare by heart long before 
he became an illustrator of the plays. Like man}- artists 
and literary men of the period, he was always in financial 
straits. Every sixpence that he earned he handed o\-er to 
his wife, a quiet thriftful woman, sister of Archibald Henning, 
and she used to give him a small sum whenever he spent 
his evenings abroad in company with Macready, Laman 
Blanchard, John Forster, Jerrold, and others, at the Shake- 
speare Club. He was a little man with a feeble frame, and 
much addicted to convivial society." He was, indeed, a boon- 
companion, generous and kind-hearted, and a delightful racon- 
teur — '' happy, conversational Meadows," as Blanchard Jerrold 
calls him — when at the club, and a jovial rovstering Bohemian 
when he left it. 


(Front a Water-Colour by 
M>-s. L. Battley Smith.) 

448 The History of "PuNcny 

About the time that Punch was started, Kenny Meadows 
was hving hard by College Place, Camden Town, and one 
night gave a rollicking dinner to the members of the newly- 
formed Staff; but Hine (from whom I had the story), 
as a sober man of peace and quiet, declined the invitation, 
as was his wont, and the next day, meeting Meadows, was 
surprised to receive a very penitent apology for their behaviour 
of the previous night. " What behaviour ? " asked Mr. Hine, 
unconscious of any possible cause of offence. " What ! didn't 
3'ou heafl- us ? Where do you sleep ? " '' In front. Why ? " 
" Why ? Because before breaking up at three this morning 
we said, ' Let's give Hine three cheers to finish up with ; ' 
which we did, with an unearthly noise, and danced a solemn 
dance on the pavement, and sang you songs fortissimo, and 
altogether made a diabolical uproar." " Never heard a sound," 
said Hine. Meadows turned sorrowfully on his heel with- 
out a word, and for some days could not get over his dis- 
appointment that, in spite of all their best endeavours, his 
young friend's rest had been unbroken. 

When his first two drawings appeared in " Punch's Valen- 
tines" — " Young Loves to Sell" and "The Speculative Mamma" 
—Meadows was already fifty-one years old, with thirty-four 
more of conviviality before him ; he was, therefore, the Nestor 
of Punch's Staff, as well as its most distinguished member. 
" Meadows was essentially valuable to Punch," says George 
Hodder, who by marriage had become his nephew, " for the 
thoughtfulness of his designs, which were intended to portray 
something more than a burlesque view of a current event or 
a popular abuse." His delight when he made a hit was like 
that of a prize-winning boy ; and he used to pride himself 
that his drawing of a butterfly at the mouth of a cannon, 
tvpif\'ing peace — published in Pxinch in February, 1844 — in- 
spired Landseer with his celebrated picture entitled " Peace," 
in which, however, the butterfly was superseded b}' a lamb. 

Although he was excellent as a " general utility " man, 
who took as naturally to tragedy as he did to farce, to sub- 
jects of squalor as to grace of beauty, to Shakespeare as to 
Punch, he is not to be credited with any great sense of 



humour, his vis comica running rather to grotesqueness tlian 
to real fun or wit. His intention was usually more admired 
than his achievement — in his press work, at least ; and the 
symbolic treatment of his subjects in certain of the cartoons 
which he executed in 1842-3-4, such as his "Temperance 
Guy Fawkes," his Cruikshankian " Gin Drop " and " Water 
Drop," "The Irish Frankenstein," and "The Bull Frog," are 
to be included among Punch's early successes. But better 
than this sort of desigii he enjoyed work of a more decora- 
tive type, in which grace and humour, as he understood 
them, might be introduced. Of this class is his wrapper 
used throughout the fifth volume. (See p. 46.) But his 
"poetic fancy and inventive genius," which aroused the en- 
thusiasm of many others besides the appreciative John Timbs, 
were not in harmony with Punch's character, nor was his 
fun sufficiently pointed and robust. Whilst he remained he 
illustrated Jerrold's " Punch's Letters to his Son " and " Com- 
plete Letter-writer," which duly received the honour of a 
reprint ; but he left in 1844, and straight- 
way betook himself to the hostile camp 
of " The Great Gun," which aspired to 
be Punch's chief rival, to " The Man in 
the Moon," and other of the Jester's 
numerous thorns — for of such is the 
spirit of caricaturists. 

The period of Alfred " Crowquill's " 
work corresponded with that of Meadows. 
Although a versatile man, using his pen 
and pencil with equal facility and abilit}' 
— the former, perhaps, more successfully 
than the latter — -Forrester (for that was 
his real name) was but an indifferent 

humorist. He was of those who thought that fim could be 
imparted to a drawing by the simple expedient of grotesque 
exaggeration of expression ; and as a great admirer of Sey- 
mour's " Cockney humour," he was frequently pointless and 
stilted. Personally he was highly popular with the Staff, for 
he was philosophicalh' happy and ]o\'m\, and sang good 
D D 


(Fro)it a Photograph by 
Clarkington and Co.) 

450 The History of "Punch." 

songs, and was, moreover, greatly songht after at a time 
when comic artists were few. He was cartoonist, too, in 
a small way, in the second, third, and fourth volumes of 
Punch ; but his chief merit lay in his jeux de mots, for he 
was a good punster. Yet even his pictorial puns, good as 
they were, constituted little claim on a paper which was 
steadily improving its Staff; and when he left, in 1844, his 
place was easily and advantageously filled. 

Passing over the name of Thackeray, who takes his 
place among the literary contributors, we come to Sir 
John Gilbert. His work, though slight, has spread over a 
longer period than that of any other Punch artist — save 
Sir John Tenniel, forty years later. His first contribution 
was the frontispiece to the second volume for 1842, which 
also constituted its wrapper, and was used as such for the 
monthly parts for many years. He continued with a 
few drawings to " The Xatural History of Courtship " 
and "Punch's Letters to his Son," but his most ambitious 
effort was that representing the late Duke of Cambridge, 
coronet in hand, begging for public money as a marriage 
portion for his daughter. But when Jerrold's fiat went 
forth, " We don't want Rubens on Punch" young Gilbert 
turned his attention to the newly-started " Illustrated London 
News," on which his services were warmlv welcomed and 
continuously employed, with such brilliant results to itself and 
to the black-and-white art in England. I was one day con- 
versing with a distinguished foreign artist on the compara- 
tive merits of Gilbert and Dore, whose fecundity in their 
art was equal, and I ventured to assert the great artistic 
superiority of Gilbert. " You are right ! " cried \\\y enthu- 
siastic friend, with more judgment of art than accuracy of 
English idiom ; " Gilbert cocks Dore into a top-hat ! " 

Not for twenty-one years did he reappear in the pages 
of the London Charivari, until after an interval in which he 
built up his reputation as the greatest draughtsman on wood 
that England, and perhaps any country, has produced. Then 
he contributed the first illustration, in an admirable spirit 
of caricature, to Mr. Burnand's " Mokeanna," and then again, 

Hablot Knight Browne {"■ Phi//'). 451 

after another nineteen years, he made a full-pa<^e drawing for 
the Ahnanac of 1882, representing the unhappy plight of a 
knight who, summoned hastil}- to the wars, cannot induce 
his new suit of armour to come together over his fattened 
frame, even with the combined assistance of female relations 
and muscular retainers. 

In this same year of 1842 Hablot Knight Browne, o^'er- 
coming his former reluctance, began to 
draw for the paper. He drew its second 
wrapper {sec p. 42) — an enormous im- 
provement on Henning's — as well as 
some beautiful little comic cuts exqui- 
sitel}^ engraved (used to illustrate " A 
Shillings worth of Nonsense "j, and a 
couple of " Punch's Valentines." In one 
of these — the Lawyer — the original of 
Mr. Squeers may be seen in the char- 
acter of an orthodox pettifogging 

attorney perched upon a stool. But hablot k. browne. 

Punch could not support such twin 

stars as Leech and "Phiz," and the latter left in 1844 
for "The Great Gun," whose leading draughtsman he became. 
In the pages of " The Great Gun " he illustrated Maxwell's 
"Memoirs of a London Latch-key;" and then, in 1850, he 
drew for "Life, the Mirror of the Million." In the Punch 
volumes for 1842, 1844, and 1852, his hand may be traced; 
and again in 1861, after his great illness, he turned once 
more to Punch. The brave worker, who would not admit his 
stroke of paralysis, but called it rheumatism, could still draw 
when the pencil was tied to his fingers and answered the 
swaying of his body. In 1861 are eleven of his sketches — 
initials, most of them; in 1862, but one or two; in the 
following year, sixteen; in 1864, eleven; in 1865, five; and 
again in 1866, 1867, 1868, seven cuts, and one in 1869 ; 
altogether, a little over three-score drawings, besides three 
full-page cuts in the Pocket-book of 1850. But, for all that, 
"Phiz" died more than half forgotten. His biographer, 
indeed, had never heard of his Punch work ; and even the 
D D 2 

452 The History of "Punch." 

paper which had been so kind to him, and dedicated on 
July 22nd, 1882, two graceful obituary stanzas to " delightful 
Phiz — immortal Phiz," entirely forgot to mention that his 
facile pencil had been employed in Punch's service. 

A single cartoon came from Henry Heath (Vol. HI.), 
who was well enough known as a political caricaturist through 
having made many such plates for Spooner, the publisher, 
in the Strand. Heath emigrated to Australia, and Mr. R. J. 
Hamerton, who was soon to become a notable member of 
the Punch corps, filled the place he left, signing his " B. H." 
(Bob Hamerton) to resemble as closely as might be the 
initials of the old favourite. But when, later on, Punch 
work came to Mr. Hamerton, the Spooner caricatures were 
dropped. A couple of unimportant contributions sent in 
under the initials "J. R." complete the record for 1842. 

It was through Jerrold's and Lemon's friend, Joe Allen, 
to whom he handed some of his pen-and-ink drawings, that 
Mr. R. J. Hamerton secured his footing on Punch. This 
was in the middle of the year, and in the opening number 
of the new volume appear his first contributions. For some 
weeks thev were signed " Shallaballa " — the itinerant Punch's 
first cry on his jumping up before the public in his show, 
and apparently an appropriate pseudonym ; but when the 
artist was reminded by Mark Lemon of the real significance 
of the objectionable word, he abandoned it for the better- 
known picture-rebus of his mmie — a Hammer on the side of a 

The only meeting of the Punch men which he attended 
was that at the '' Whistling Oyster," next door to the "Crown," 
at the time when the musical bivalve, as narrated in the 
description of the " Punch Club," was the talk of the town. 
Mr. Hamerton, who was introduced by Mark Lemon, and 
who made the fantastic portrait of it which was published 
in the following number of Punchy remembers Douglas 
Jerrold reciting on that occasion his version of the ingredients 
and constitution of PuncJi, which was worked up and con- 
tributed by Horace Mayhew to the next volume, but, of 
course, without the names attached, as here given : — 

R. J. Hamerton. 


The Spirit is " The Comic Blackstone " (Gilbert a Beckett). 

The Acid is " The Story of a Feather" (Doughs Jerrold). 

The Sweet is The Great " Saxon Suggestor " 

(W. M. Thackeray). 

The Spice is " The Sub " (Horace Mayhew). 

The Water is The " Professor " (Percival Leigh). 

And the Spoon is The " Editor " (Mark Lemon). 

Where, then, was the art ? 

Mr. Hamerton was one of the few Irishmen who ha^•e 
worked on the paper. He liad begun to teach drawing at 
a school in Co. Longford when he was but fourteen, and 
came to London to draw upon stone under tlie e}-e of Charles 
Hullmandel, the father of the litho- 
graphic art in England. With the ex- 
ception of occasional incursions into oil 
and water colour — he was a popular 
member of the British Artists half-a- 
century ago — and a few years' book- 
illustration for the London publishers, 
"it was stone, stone, stone, till 1891, 
when the drawing on the huge stones 
became too much for my old back." 
Like his life-long friend and contem- 
porary, Hine, he was not of Punch 
Punchy — at least, in respect to con- 
viviality ; and after a record of Staff 
service extending to 1844, with fitful contributions up to 1848, 
he deserted the precincts of Whitefriars, and soon after re- 
nounced wood-drawing in favour of his more lucrative em- 
plo5mient. He had, however, already contributed ten cartoons 
— striking for their handling, if not at first for their finish. 
The majority of his subjects were Irish — such as the " Irish 
Ogre Fattening on the 'Finest Pisintry,'" "The Shadow 
Dance," " King O'Connell at Tara," " Bagging the Wild Irish 
Goose," and so forth — and terribly severe he was, as only an 
Irishman could be, on Daniel O'Connell and Lord Brougham. 
He illustrated a Beckett's " Comic Blackstone ; " but his 
masterpiece in wood-draughtsmanship was his illustration of 


{From a P/iotog?-a/>h by E. 

HigginSt Siavi/ord.) 

454 T^H^ History of "Punch." 

John Forster's "Life of Goldsmith" for Bradbury and Evans. 
Then after a couple of contributions from " W. B." — 
W. Brown, whose " Comic Album " was deservedly popular 
in its day, and whose " Statue to Jenkins " pleased Pwich's 
readers greatly — and the cut signed " B," attributed to 
Thomas Hood, and another anonymous contribution by " S," 
there came Richard Doyle, one of the most notable 
acquisitions of the decade. He was the second son of the 
famous " HB," and had done capital comic work of an 
amateur character while still a boy. His " Comic English 
Histories," executed when he was only fifteen years of age, 
were published after his death ; but he was still young when 
he first became known to the public. He was possessed of 
an extraordinary power of fanciful draughtsmanship ; and his 
precocitv is sufficiently proved by his comic illustrations to 
Homer, wrought at the tender age of twelve, with real humour, 
wealth of invention, and excellence of expression. His uncle, 
Mr. Conan, dramatic critic of the '' jMorning Herald," showed 
his work to his friend Mark Lemon, and Lemon forthwith 
requested j\Ir. Swain to instruct the youth in wood-draughts- 
manship. So the engraver set forth with blocks and pencils 
to this " certain clever young son " of the once mighty 
" LB," who was now in a fair way of falling out of public 
notice. Arrived at Cambridge Terrace, he endeavoured to 
impart to Richard Doyle the art and mystery of drawing 
on the wood — how to prepare his blocks, and so forth, and to 
give such further information as might be required. But so 
nervous was the 3"0uth, who was small and thin in person, and 
greatly agitated in mind and manner, that he persisted in 
keeping his distance out of simple shyness, and literally 
dodged around the dining-room table, altogether too excited 
to lend the slightest attention to the words of his mentor. 
In due course, Mr. Swain tells me, the first drawing was 
delivered, " and a bad, smudgy thing it was, too, altogether 
different from the work he almost immediately contributed 
for the Almanac of that year." Do^de's first work in Punch 
consisted of the clever comic borders to the Christmas num- 
ber, one of which enclosed Hood's " Song of the Shirt ; " but 

Richard Doyle's Debut 455 

with the ilhistration to the rhymed version of " Don Pas- 
quale" he made his actual debut. 

He was not promoted at once to the position of car- 
toonist ; for the first six months he contributed only one big 
cut to fixe of Leech's, and his proportion during several 
years that followed did not exceed one in three. His first 
cartoon, entitled " The Modern Sisyphus " — representing Sir 
Robert Peel, as the tormented one, engaged in rolling the 
stone (O'Connell) up the hill, with Lord Jolm Russell 
and others, as the Furies, looking on — appeared on 
March i6th, 1844; and from that time onwards his work 
rapidly increased in volume. His initial-letters — an invention 
further developed later on by C. H. Bennett, Mr. Ernest 
Griset, and Mr. Linley Sambourne — and his cartoons were re- 
inforced by the famous series of " Brown, Jones, and Robinson," 
" Mr. Pips hys Diary," " Bird's-eye Views of English Society," 
and " Ye Manners and Customs of Ye Englyshe," their manner 
of presentation having been created by the artist, who was 
forthwith dubbed b}^ his comrades " Professor of ]\Iedia;val 
Design." When Doyle was first called to the Table, his 
punctilious father did not show any enthusiasm, being in 
some doubts, apparenth', as to . the supposed wild reckless- 
ness of those savage orgies. He wrote to the Proprietors, 
hoping that they would not insist upon it for a time, as his 
son's health was not robust. A little later Doyle himself 
wrote stiffly to protest against his real name having been 
printed on the cover of Punch contrary to his distinct 
request to Mark Lemon, who had promised to retain the 
name by which he was already known to the public — " Dick 
Kitcat " — as in the etched plates to Maxwell's " Hector 
O'Halloran." But the demand was not persisted in. 

" Dicky " Doyle continued to work regularly for the paper, 
and his monogram signature, with a " dicky " either perched 
upon the top or pecking on the ground close by, was rareh' 
absent from a single number, when the Popery scare — which 
had seized the popular mind towards the end of 1849 — 
infected Punch with extraordinary \-irulence. So long as 
Mark Lemon confined his cartoons and his text to the 

45 6 The History of "Punch." 

general question of " Papal Aggression," Doyle, who was a 
devout Irish Catholic, held his peace ; but when the very 
doctrine of the faith was attacked, and the Pope himself 
personally insulted, he severed himself regretfulh^ but deter- 
minedl}' from the paper. Anterior to this, Doyle had 
remonstrated, but had been reminded that he himself had 
been permitted to caricature Exeter Hall and all its ways, 
so that he could not complain if the tables were turned 
upon his own party. Jerrold and Thackeray, says Mr. 
Everitt, sought to dissuade him in vain. "Look at the 
'Times,'" they argued; ''its language has been most violent, 
but the Catholic writers on its Staff do not, for that reason, 
resign. They understand, and the world at large under- 
stands, that the individual contributor is not responsible for 
the opinions expressed b)' other contributors in articles with 
which they have nothing to do.' ' That is all very well in the 
"Times,"' was Do3'le's answer, 'but not in Punch. For the 
" Times " is a monarchy [I believe, these were his very 
words], whereas Punch is a republic' So when a week or so 
later an article, attributed to Jerrold himself, jeeringly advised 
the Pope to 'feed his flock on the wafer of the Vatican,' 

it was too much for Doyle So he wrote to resign his 

connection with Punch, stating his reasons plainly and simply." 
But when Doyle resigned, for reasons which earned him 
the respect of all who heard of them, it was not realised 
how strong was the undercurrent of feeling within the Punch 
office. It is true that at the bottom of what I may call 
the " Punch Aggression " were Jerrold and the Proprietors ; 
and that the onslaught of the one, with the encouragement 
of the others, so profoundly wounded Doyle as to force 
him into sacrificing lucrative employment, and condemning 
him in the result to a life of toil. But for once in his 
career Doyle was guilty of behaviour which, if not inex- 
cusable in the circumstances, was certainl}' indefensible. 
He left the paper in the lurch. His letter of resignation was 
sent in on November 27th, he having allowed the Editor to 
think that the blocks for the Almanac, already overdue, 
had all been completed ; and when it was discovered that 


they had not been done, and that nothing was forthcoming, 
consternation reigned in the oihce. Xo doubt the revenge 
was sweet, but it was ih-judged ; for while no Cathohc mem- 
ber of the Staff has ever raised his voice in its justification, 
Doyle's conduct served but to increase the bitterness of the 
anti-Catholic feeling in Punch's Cabinet, and perhaps to pro- 
duce attacks more intemperate than any that had gone before. 
And, moreover, it rendered more difficult the position of 
others of the same faith who became members of the Staff. 

So Doyle quitted the paper at the close of 1850, yet 
his hand was seen in its pages in 1857, 1862 (four cuts), 
and 1864, This was a question of "old stock" — a matter 
which often crops up in Punch : it is not a unique cir- 
cumstance to see a sketch appear man}- years after it was 
drawTi, and even when the hand that has drawn it has 
turned to dust. In 1883 there appeared a cut by ]\Ir. Sam- 
bourne which was made fifteen years before; and in 1894 
there was published a sketch by R. B. Wallace (of the late 
Lord Beaconsfield) a year after the artist died and fourteen 
years after he had ceased to draw for the paper. 

But when Doyle left Punch he would draw for none of 
its rivals. With the exception of the single lapse already 
alluded to, his conduct was alwa3'S high-minded and generous ; 
and his virtue and nobility of character have been testified 
to by all his friends. He declined the offer of a large sum to 
draw for a well-known periodical as he disapproved of the 
principles of its conductors ; and on similar grounds he refused 
to illustrate a new edition of Swift. Mr. Holman Hunt has 
recorded his testimony as to his sterling worth. " Dicky 
Doyle," he tells me, *' I knew affectionately. John Leech and 
Doyle were never very cordial, Do3ie's staunch Romanism 
separating them. While so rigid and consistent a religionist, 
he was one of the most charitable of men,, and would never 
be a party to any scandal, howe^'er much it had been pro- 
voked. I am afraid that no portrait was ever painted of him, 
certainl}' none showing his delightfully amusing laugh, which 
always seemed to be indulged apologetically — with the face 
bent into the cravat and the double chin pressed forward." 

458 The History of ''Punch'' 

Doyle's great misfortune as an artist was that his father, 
cultivating the son's fancy at the expense of his training, not 
only would allow him no regular teaching, but would not 
permit him to draw from the model — nothing but " observance 
of Nature " and memory-drawing. The result was that Doyle 
remained an amateur to the end — an extremely skilM one, 
whose shortcomings were concealed in his charming illustra- 
tions and imaginative designs, but were startlingly revealed 
in his larger work and in his figure-drawing. As a draughts- 
man he was usually feeble, though graceful ; his effects, 
technically speaking, were constantly false, and his drawing 
often as poor as Thackera3^'s. He was saved by his charm 
and sweetness, his inexhaustible fun and humour,* his de- 
lightful though superficial realisation of character, and his 
keen sense of the grotesque. When he died in December, 
1883, Punch devoted to his memory a poem in which his 
artistic virtues are generously appreciated, but not a word 
is said as to the parting of their ways. From this tribute, 
this "reconciliation after death," I transcribe one stanza: — 

" Turning o'er his own past pages, 

Punch, with tearful smile, can trace 
That fine talent's various stages, 

Caustic satire, gentle grace, 
Feats and freaks of Cockney funny — 

Browx, and JoxES, and Robinson ; 
And, huge hive of Humour's honey, 

Quaint quintessence of rich fun, 
Coming fresh as June-breeze briary 

With old memories of our youth, 
Thrice immortal Pipss Diarv ! 

Masterpiece of ]\Iirth and Truth ! '' 

In 1844 the versatile artist-dramatist, Watts Phillips, first 
declared himself in Punch with a few examples of his art, 
which George Cruikshank had fostered. Thev lasted up to 
1846, but amounted to very little. He gave more attention 

* It may be stated that Doyle contributed a ewe-lamb of literature to riinch 
(May 13th, 1845), entitled " High Art and the Royal Academy " (Vol. XVI., 

P- 197)- 

Watts Phillips. — Henry Doyle. 459 

to " Puck, " of which Chatto was the editor ; and when, a 
few years afterwards, he joined " Diogenes " as its cartoonist, 
he gave full rein to his undoubted talent. 

In the same year Richard Dovle's brother Henrv — better 
known as a distinguished member of the Roval Hibernian 
Academy, and best of all as the grave and extremely able 
Director of the National Gallery of Ireland — made a number 
of small cuts for Punch, which were published in 1S44 and 
the following years ; but as I was informed, at the time or 
his death, by his elder brother James, now also dead (the 
chronicler, and the compiler of the '' Official Baronage of 
England") : "The Punch episode was the merest child's play 
to him. His line, chosen years before, was sacred or poetic 
art ; and his illustrations to Telemachus, done before this time, 
remarkable for invention and colour, were gi^eatly admired 
bv Prince Albert. That he drew for Punch at one time 
is, of course, true ; but the mention of it gives a false im- 
pression of his taste and principal work at that period." Yet 
the spirit of humour was strong within him, for he was one 
of the "Great Gunners" in 1845; and from 1867 to 1869, 
when he was appointed to Dublin, he was cartoonist for 
" Fun," signing with a Hen, or " Fusbos." 

Thomas On why n, best known, nowadays, perhaps, by his 
" extra illustrations " to " Pickwick " and " Nicholas Xickleby," 
and bv his plates to "Valentine Vox" and Cockton's other 
novels, began to contribute a few blocks to Punch — a fact 
which has hitherto been denied. His first drawing, published 
on p. 130, Vol. XIII. (1S47), illustrates an article by Gilbert 
a Beckett, entitled, " The Friends Reconciled." The next 
was a "Social," on p. 230 of the same volume, representing 
a hatter's wiles and their victim. But Onwhyn was better 
used to the etching-needle than the pencil, and his drawing 
on wood was hard and unsympathetic, and his figures were 
usually rather strained than funny. About this time he was 
retiring from his position as a popular illustrator of books. 
Throne Crick's " Sketches from the Diary of a Commercial 
Traveller," embellished by Onwhyn, had just appeared ; and 
the artist was beginning to bring out his series of albums of 

460 The History of ''Punch:' 

plates, big and small, on all sorts of humorous subjects. The 
time was, therefore, appropriate at which to embark on in- 
dependent illustration in Punch. But in the following year 
he contributed not more than a sketch or two ; and thence- 
forward, until he finally laid down his pencil in 1870, he 
confined his artistic efforts to his own happy ideas with but 
few exceptions — such as " Welcome, a Charade ; by W. Shake- 
sides" (1850). Onwhyn died so late as 1886. 

For four years, if we except two or three unimportant 
cuts contributed by E. J. Burton in 1847-8-9, no new name 
appears upon the draughtsman's roll. Then John IVIacgregor 
— the celebrated " Rob Roy " — who had begun to contribute 
paragraphs and short articles in 1847, commenced adding 
sketches, such as his " Silence in the Gallery," in January, 
1848. " Prince Albert's Hat " was also his, and others besides ; 
and it is worth remarking that the proceeds of these sketches 
and articles were given to the police-courts, wherewith the 
magistrates might assist poor cases. 

The year 1850 became of the first importance in the his- 
tory of Punch. Not that William McConnell and his gentle 
art would make tlie year remarkable, for his early defection 
from Punch, and his premature death from consumption, cut 
short a career which promised considerably more than it 
achieved. Mr. Sala tells me that McConnell was a handsome 
little fellow, bright, alert, and full of originality. He was 
always exceptionally well-dressed — and witli good reason, for 
his father, on coming over from Ireland and settling in Totten- 
ham Court Road, resumed his trade of tailor. The youth 
sent in some sketches, which were highl}' thought of by 
Mark Lemon. He was turned over to Mr. Swain for some 
instruction in drawing on the wood, and subsequently took 
up his residence in the engraver's house for a time ; but, 
not living long enough to prove his individuality, he remained 
to the end an imitator of Leech. Perhaps that was the 
reason that he drew so small a salary from Punch ; at any 
rate, he always resented what he considered to be the con- 
tumelious and shabby treatment meted out to him by Mark 
Lemon. But for such money as he did receive, it must be 

Willi AM McConnrll. 


admitted tliat he gave full value in the fierceness of his 
cartoons on Louis Xapoleon, He did much book illustra- 
tion, besides drawing for the Press, serious and comic — his 
Punch work including a couple of cartoons 
in 1852, among a great number of "socials." 
His last appearance was in July of that year. 
He was a good and improving draughtsman, 
especially of horses ; and he revelled in 
beggars, " swells," and backgrounds. 

The great acquisition of the year was John 
Tenniel. The paper had been left b}' Doyle, 
as I have explained, without its Almanac 
blocks, and it found itself, moreover, without 
a second cartoonist, and, what was quite as 
important at the moment, without an artist of 
distinctly decorative ability, who would pro- 
vide the fanciful initial-letters, headings, and 
title-pages which have alwa3"S been a feature 
in Punch. The circumstances of his joining 
the paper Sir John once recounted to me 
in conversation, with that sort of apologetic humour and true 
modest}' that are characteristic of him : — 

" I never learned drawing, except in so far as attending a 
school and being allowed to teach myself. I attended the 
Royal Academy Schools after becoming a probationer, but 
soon left in utter disgust of there being no teaching. I had 
a great idea of High Art ; in fact, in 1845 I sent in a sixteen- 
foot-high cartoon for Westminster Palace. In the Upper 
Waiting Hall, or 'Hall of Poets,' of the House of Lords, 
I made a fresco, but my subject was changed after my work 
had been decided on and worked out. At Christmas, 1850, I 
was invited by Mark Lemon to fill the place suddenly left 
by Doyle, who with very good reasons for himself— that of 
objection to the "Papal Aggression" campaign— suddenly 
severed his connection with Punch. Doyle had left them in 
great straits— the Pocket-book and Almanac to come out — 
and I was applied to by Lemon, on the initiation of Jerrold, 


{Froui a Photograph by 

Soiith'Mell Brothers, 

Baker Street.) 


(From a Pen-Draiumg by Hiiiisel/.) 

S/j? John Tenniel Joins "Punch." 463 

to fill the breach. This was on the strength of my illustra- 
tions to ^'Esop's Fables, which had recently been published 
b}^ Murray. I did the title and half-title to the nineteenth 
volume, as well as the first page-border to the Almanac, 
together with a few initials and odds and ends for the end of 
that volume, and the first illustration to the next ; but only 
the half-title, title, and tail-piece were signed. My first car- 
toon was that facing page 44 in the twentieth volume ; and, 
only signing occasionally for the first month or two, I went 
on from time to time doing cartoons. 

" As for political opinions, I have none ; at least, if I 
have my own little politics, I keep them to myself, and profess 
only those of my paper. If I ha^-e infused an}- dignity into 
cartoon-designing, that comes from no particular effort on my 
part, but solely from the high feeling I have for art. In any 
case, if I am a ' cartoonist ' — the accepted term — I am not 
a caricaturist in any sense of the word. My drawings are 
sometimes grotesque, but that is from a sense of fun and 
humour. Some people declare that I am no humorist, that 
I have no sense of fun at all ; they deny me everything but 
severity, ' classicality/ and dignity. Now, / believe that I 
have a ^'ery keen sense of humour, and that my drawings 
are sometimes really funny ! 

" I have now been working regularly at the v/eekly car- 
toons for Punch for close on thirty years (from 1862),* missing 
only two or three times from illness. In all that time I have 
hardly left London for more than a week ; yet I enjoy wonder- 
ful health, doubtless to be attributed to regular riding. I 
carry out my work thus: I never use models or Nature for 
the figure, drapery, or anything else. But I have a wonderful 
memory of observation — not for dates, but anything I see I 
remember. Well, I get my subject on Wednesday night ; I 
think it out carefully on Thursday, and make my rough 
sketch ; on Friday morning I begin, and stick to it all 
day, with my nose well down on the block. By means of 
tracing-paper— on which I make all alterations of composition 
and action I may consider necessary— I transfer my design 

* This conversation tool^ place in April, 1889. 


The History of "Punch." 

to the wood, and draw on that. The first sketch I may, and 
often do, complete later on as a commission. Indeed, at 
the present time I have a huge undertaking on hand, in 
which I take great delight — the finishing of scores of my 
sketches, of which I have many hundreds. They are for a 
friend — an enthusiastic admirer, if I may be permitted to say 

so. Well, the block 
being finished, it is 
handed over to 
Swain's boy at about 
6,30 to 7 o'clock, who 
has been waiting for 
it for an hour or so, 
and at 7.30 it is put 
in hand for engraving. 
That is completed on 
the following night, and 
on Monday night I 
receive by post the 
copv of next Wednes- 
day's paper. Although 
case - hardened in a 
sense, I have never 
the courage to open 
the packet. I always 
leave it to my sister, 
who opens it and hands 
^ it across to me, when 



at it, and receive my 
weekly pang. My work would be difficult to photograph 
on to the wood, as it is all done in pencil ; the only pen- 
and-ink work I haA-e done, so far, being for the Almanac 
and Pocket-book.* 

* Since 1S92, I may explain, Sir John Tenniel and Punch have moved with 
the times. Sir John now draws his cartoons upon the Chinese-whitened 
surface of cardboard, and they are photographed on the block in the usual 





































'O 5 

'O ^ 

E E 

466 The History of "Punch." 

"As I never have a model, I never draw from life, always 
when I want a portrait, a uniform, and so on, from a photo- 
graph, though not in quite the same spirit as Sambourne 
does. I get a photograph onh^ of the man whom I want to 
draw, and seek to get his character. Then, if the photograph 
is in profile, I have to ' judge ' the full face, and vice versa; 
but if I onl}' succeed in getting the character, I seldom go 
far wrong — a due appreciation is an almost infallible guide. 
I had the opportunity of studying Mr. Gladstone's face 
carehillv when he did me the honour of inviting me to 
dinner at Downing Street, and I have met him since ; but 
I fanc}", after my ' Islxs. Gummidge ' cartoon and * Janus,' I 
don't deser\-e to be honoured again ! His face has much 
more character and is much stronger than Mr. Bright's. 
Mr. Bright had fine eyes and a grand, powerful mouth, as 
well as an earnest expression ; but a weak nose — artistically 
speaking, no nose at all — still, a very intellectual face indeed." 

Thus it was not only Nature, but the Pope, who marked 
out Tenniel for the position of Piuich's Cartoonist — the 
greatest " Cartoonist " the world has produced. Had the 
Pope not "aggressed" by appointing archbishops and bishops 
to English Sees, and so raised the scare of which Lord John 
Russell and Mr. Punch really seem to have been the leaders, 
Do3'le would not have resigned, and no opening would have 
been made for Tennief. Sir John, indeed, was by no means 
enamoured of the prospect of being a Punch artist when 
Mark Lemon made his overtures to him. He was rather 
indignant than otherwise, as his line was high art and his 
severe drawing above "fooling." "Do they suppose," he 
asked a friend, " that there is anything funny about me f " 
He meant, of course, in his art, for privately he was well 
recognised as a humorist ; and little did he know, in the 
moment of hesitation before he accepted the offer, that he 
was struggling against a kindlv destin}'. 

John Tenniel was only sixteen years old when his first 
oil picture was exhibited at the Suffolk Street Galleries, 
and he soon became recognised, not only as a painter, but 
as a book and magazine illustrator of unusual skill. But 

Early Comic Efforts. 467 

he and Keene had already proclaimed themselves the 
humorists they were by the production of the "Book of 
Beauty," to which much public attention was drawn when 
the sketches contained in it were exhibited and sold. They 
had been fellow-students at the life class, and in the year 
1844 were both intimate ^•isitors at the house of their friends, 
Mr. and Mrs. Barrett. After dinner, when the lamp was 
brought in, the two young artists would amuse themselves, 
together with their host, by making drawings in coloured 
chalks. Mr. Barrett, it may be said, was a thin man, signing 
himself '' 5-i2ths," in recognition of the nobler proportions 
of Mrs. Barrett, unquestionably his "better half." Keene 
chose the " Signs of the Zodiac," to begin with, as the 
subject of his admirable burlesques, Tenniel having already 
selected quotations from Shakespeare, history, poetrv, and so 
forth, the humour which he infused into them being equal 
to anything he afterwards produced in Punch. But it may 
interest the present owners of these highly-prized produc- 
tions to know that those who produced them thought very 
little of them as art, while Sir John expressed the greatest 
surprise that in their rubbed condition thev should attract 
any notice whatever. As early proofs, however, of the comic 
facult}" of two of Punch's giants, they were interesting and 
valuable designs ; while, so far as Sir John's work was con- 
cerned, they were the forerunners of the extremely humorous 
illustrations of Shakespearian quotations with which he ad- 
vanced his reputation and his position on the paper. 

No sooner had the severe young classicist determined 
to accept the position offered him in PuucJis band, than 
Mr. Swain was requested to wait upon him in Xewman 
Street, and instruct him in the art of drawing upon wood. 
But he found that Tenniel, the illustrator of the Rev. Thomas 
James's edition of ^sop's Fables, published by John ^Murray 
in 1848, was alreadv a brilliant expert. The accomplished 
young draughtsman soon took keen delight in the smooth 
face of a block, and at once began — and ever continued — to 
demand a degree of smoothness that was the despair ot 
Swain to procure. Tenniel, indeed, always drew with a 
E E 2 


The History of "Punch." 

specially-manufactured six-H pencil — which appears more im- 
pressive with its proper style of " H H H H H H " — and so 
delicate was the drawing that, firm and solid as were the lines, 
it looked as if you could blow it off the wood. The result 
is that Swain has always interpreted Sir John Tenniel's work, 

not simply facsimile'd 
it, aiming- rather at 
producing what the 
artist intended or de- 
sired to have, than 
what he actually pro- 
vided in his exquisite 
gre}' drawings. So 
Swain would thicken 
his lines while retain- 
ing their character, just 
as he would reduce 
Mr. Sambourne's, par- 
ticularly in the flesh 
parts, and otherwise 
bring the resources of 
the engraver's art to 
bear upon the work 
of the masters of the 
pencil. Doubtless the 
artists might deplore 
the "spoiling" of their 
lines ; but pencil greys 
are not to be repro- 
duced in printer's ink — they must be " rendered." And though, 
as artists, draughtsmen may groan under the transitional 
process, they realise that in submitting their work to the 
wood-cutter's craft, they must take its drawbacks along with 
its advantages. 

The first drawing by Tenniel in the bound volume is, as 
he says, the frontispiece to the second half-yearly ^■olume 
for 1850, but his actual first contribution the initial on 
p. 224 of that volume. Perhaps the most notable thing 


FOR " punch's 


{From Sir John Tenniel's First Rough Sketch for the Cartoon in "Punch," ^oth July, 1875 

— /. iS, Vol. LXXV.) 

470 The History of "Punchy 

about it is the extraordinary resemblance between the artist's 
work at the beginning and at the end of his career. Of course, 
it is much " tighter ; " it is much younger. But the hand 
and method are strangely unchanged. It is beautiful in its 
exquisite precision and its refinement, and altogether superior 
in its character to what its creator, in a spirit of severe self- 
criticism, chooses to believe. '' My first cartoon," he wrote 
to me, ''was 'Lord Jack the Giant-Killer' — and awfully bad 
it is ; in fact, all my work, at that particular time, now 
seems to me about as bad as bad could be, and fills me with 
wonder and amazement ! ! " But this cartoon, continuing 
the Papal campaign so hateful to Doyle, by showing Lord 
John Russell with his sword of truth and liberty attacking 
the crozier-armed Cardinal Wiseman, was greatly inferior to 
the smaller contributions. His improvement, however, was 
rapid. Tenniel's first "half-page social" is on p. 218 of 
the same volume; while in 1852 we have his first superb 
Lion, and his first obituary cartoon. Gradually he took 
over the political big cut, which Leech was happy to place 
in his hands ; but during the long years that they worked 
together the two men were admirable foils to one another. 
i Leech sketched and Tenniel drew ; Leech gave us farce 
^ and drama, and Tenniel, high comedy and tragedy ; and 
the freedom of the one heightened the severer beauties 
of the other. And when Leech died, his friend continued 
the labour alone. Except in 1864, 1868, and 1875-6-7-8, 
in which last-named year he took his first holiday from Punch 
work and went with Mr. Silver to Venice — (during his illness 
or absence Charles Keene contributed thirteen cartoons *) — and 
again in 1884 and 1894 (when ]\Ir. Sambourne twice took over 
the duty), he has never, from that day to this present time 
of writing, missed a single week. Nearly two thousand car- 
toons, initials innumerable, " socials," double-page cartoons for 
the Almanac and other special numbers, and two hundred 

* But when, in 1866, Keene contributed three cartoons, Sir John Tenniel's 
appeared side b}' side. This was the result of a revived experiment to add 
to the attractions of the paper by giving two cartoons — an experiment 
resumed in later years in the case of Mr. Sambourne and Mr. Furniss. 

His Untiring- Perseverance. 471 

and fifty designs for the Pocket-books — such is the record 
of the great satirist's career ; and the only change has been 
in the direction of freedom of pencil and breadth of artistic 

Of his work little need be said here, for in its main 
bearings it has already been fully considered. But acknow- 
ledgment must at least be made of how, with all his sense of 
fun and humour. Sir John Tenniel has dignified the political 
cartoon into a classic composition, and has raised the art of 
politico-humorous draughtsmanship from the relative position 
of the lampoon to that of polished satire — swaying parties 
and peoples, too, and challenging comparison with the higher 
(at times it might almost be said the highest) etforts of litera- 
ture in that direction. The beauty and statuesque qualities 
of his allegorical figures, the dignity of his beasts, and the 
earnestness and directness of his designs, apart from the ex- 
quisite simplicity of his work at its best, are things previously 
unknown in the art of which he is the most accomplished 
master, standing alone and far ahead of an}- of his imitators. 
The Teutonic character and the academic quality of his 
work, modified by the influence of Flaxman and the Greeks, 
are no blemishes ; one does not even feel that he draws 
entirely from memory. Indeed, the things are completelv 
satisfying as the work of a true artist, and — a quality 
almost as grateful and charming as it was previously rare — of 
a gentleman. 

Yet this practice of drawing from memory has its draw- 
backs ; for the things remembered are apt to grow old- 
fashioned. The Flying Dutchman was running when Sir 
John's locomotive still had the odour of Puffing Billy about 
it. His indifference to that "actuality" which is the charac- 
teristic of jVIr. Sambourne has often raised the howl of the 
specialist. When in an excellently drawn cartoon full of 
point (November, 1893), entitled "A Bicycle made for 
Two," he grafted the features of a modern roadster on to the 
type of i860, the cycling world fluttered in a manner that 
must have been very encouraging to the artist. His machine, 
they said, was the most wonderful one ever placed on the 

472 The History of "Punch." 

market. Sir H. H. Fowler, it was said, was sitting on a 
half-inch tube without a saddle, and " working with his heels 
on pedals shaped like a Mexican gaucho's stirrup" — but his 
critics had clearly never seen a gaucho's stirrup. " Xor has the 
lady— riding behind, instead of in front — better accommoda- 
tion, being in suspension over a frame that lacks a back- 
stay, and above a wheel that buckles under her weight ; 
while the handles are thrown up instead of down, and their 
bars so slender that they must inevitably break." The gear- 
case is on one side of the frame and the chain on the 
other, and the frame itself was a marvel of ingenuity mis- 
applied. Thus did the cyclists moan in many news- 
papers, taking the matter an grand serieu.x, with quite 
unusual regard for mechanical accuracy, and a total disre- 
gard for the political allusion and point. Similarly in January 
of the same year the "Forlorn :\Iaiden " of trade was shown 
lying across the railway lines while an engine is bearing 
down upon her. But " there are five rails in sight, all at 
equal distances apart, though the railway gauge is four feet 
eight inches and a half, and the locomotive is running 
on the six-foot way." The girl, too, stretches across it, 
and spans it from waist to ankles, not counting a bend at 
the knees, so that at the lowest estimate she is ten feet 
high. This violated the public conscience even more than 
the fact that the engine rushes along the inside line of the 
two sets of rails ; and they declared that never before had 
the maxim ars lunga been more triumphantly indicated than 
in the maiden's figure. But what of it all ? Is it not a 
striking commentar}- on our English temperament, that while 
an inaccuracy of a purely mechanical description raises the 
protests of thousands who have no idea beyond the parts 
of a bicycle or the width of a railway gauge, a score of 
artistic beauties pass unnoticed and unchallenged ? 

And so Tenniel worked his way upwards. The fact that in 
a fencing bout he had partially lost his sight, through the button 
of his father's foil dropping oft', whereupon he received the 
point in his eye, was not the slightest deterrent. He regarded 
it merely as an annoying, though not a very important, incident. 

Popular Reception of his Knighthood. 473 

Being satisfied that the Ahnighty had only given us tioo eyes 
as a measure of precaution, to provide against sucli vexatious 
httle accidents as he had experienced, he went on working 
as if nothing had happened. " It's a curious thing, is it not," 
he said one day to the writer, "that two of the principal 
men on Punch, du Maurier and I, have onh- two eyes 
between them ? " Yet it only made him the more careful. 
Free from mannerism, he never allowed carefulness to interfere 
with fun, and his cartoon of Britannia discovering the scjurce 
of the Nile, and of Lord Beaconsfield as a peri entering the 
Paradise of Premiership, are among the memorabh- funny 
things of Punch. His elevation to the leading position on the 
paper has thus been gradual and certain ; not of his own as- 
sumption, however, but the ready tribute of his colleagues, who 
have always regarded him not only as the great artist, but 
as the link incarnate of the tradition of Punch of the present 
with the past. So he is the favourite of the band, to whom 
he is the beloved '' Jackldes " of Shirley Brooks's christening. 
It was Mark Lemon who, at the Dinner, first applied to him 
the burlesque line — '' No longer Jack, henceforth Jackldes 
call ; " but it was Brooks who confirmed the practice of 
according to him the sobriquet which Punch (p. 148, Vol. XLV.) 
had previously conferred on Lord John Russell, " England's 
Briefest Peer." 

It was a startling proof of his extraordinary, and by him half- 
unsuspected, popularit}', that when Tenniel's knighthood became 
known the honour was received with loud and general applause 
— with an enthusiasm quite unusual in its command of popular 
approval. " I am receiving shoals of letters and telegrams," 
he wrote to me on the da)- of the announcement ; " I sup- 
pose 3-0U know the reason Y." It is said that Lord Salisbury 
had intended to make the recommendation himself, but that 
the nomination was delayed and forgotten ; but when Mr. 
Gladstone came into office the new Premier repaired the neglect 
of the old, and at the same time acknowledged the stead>- sup- 
port which Punch had offered to the Whig policy. By the 
general public it was regarded as an appreciation of the man 
who was the personification of the good-humoured and the 

474 The History of ''Punch." 

loftier side of political life — who had brought the Punch spirit 
round to something a good deal better and higher than he 
found it, blending fun with classic grace, and humour with 
dignity. To the art world it was the recognition of that 
" Black-and-white " drawing which has been the glory of Eng- 
land and the Cinderella of the Royal Academy of Arts. It was 
in this sense that Sir John Tenniel accepted the distinction. 
But it was to " Jackides " that the Punch Staff drank when 
Mr. Agnew proposed his health at the Dinner following the 
announcement of the nomination ; it was " dear old John 
Tenniel " that the Arts Club toasted when, with Mr. Val 
Prinsep, R.A., in the chair and Mr. du ^Maurier in the vice- 
chair, the new knight was the honoured guest of his club, 
and received its congratulations with the modest dignit}' and 
kindlv good-taste characteristic of him. And it was " good 
Sir John," the cartoonist — who has also been, at extremely 
rare intervals, a Punch writer too (see Punch, p. 56, Vol. XX.) 
— who was celebrated by the pen of Mr. Milliken — "the 
Pride of Mr. Punch and the delight of the British Public." 




puxch's artists : 1850-60. 

Captain Howard — Receipt for Landscape Drawing — Earnings, Real and Ideal 
—George H. Thomas — Charles Keene — His Training — Introduction to 
Punch — Called to the Table — Uselessness in Council — A Strong Politician 
—Inherits Leech's Position — Keene as an Artist — Where He Failed— His 
Joke-Primers— Torturing the Bagpipes— Good Stories, Used, Spoiled, and 
Rejected—" Toby " as a Dachshund — Death of " Frau "—Keene's Technique 
— His Inventions and Creations — And what He Earned by Them— Charles 
Martin— Harry Hall— Rev. Edward Bradley ("Cuthbert Bede ")—" Verdant 
Green " or " Blanco White " ?— Double Acrostics — George Cruikshank Defies 
Punch — Mr. T. Harrington Wilson — Mr. Harrison Weir — Mr. Ashby-Sterry 
— Alfred Thompson — Frank Bellew— Julian Portch— " Cham " — G. H. 
Haydon — J. M. Lawless. 

An amateur who signed with cross-pipes, and who appeared 
five times in the following year, was the one other contribu- 
tor of 1850 ; and then 1851 was dis- 
tinguished by the enlistment of the 
prolific draughtsman who at first used 
three running legs — quaintly accepted 
as the Manx arms — as his sign-manual. 
This was Captain Henry R. Howard, 
the son of a country gentleman, born 
at Watford, where he lived in the same 
house for over fifty 3'ears. He was 
alwavs sketching from a child ; and 
being persuaded by his friends to " do 
some of those for Pimch," he sent a 
few samples to the Editor, but without 
much hope of success. They brought 
an immediate in^•itation to call upon Mark Lemon, who told 
him, after seeing his pencil sketches, that he might draw for 
them, but not on paper, on wood ; and learning that he had 
had no such experience, referred him for instruction to the 
courtesy of Leech and Tenniel, whose senior he was by six 
years. He was not entirely without artistic education, having 


{From a Photograph by Lambert 
West OH ami Son.) 

476 The History of " Puxch!' 

studied in Hanover under a pupil of Benjamin West's. " You 
must draw skeletons," said Herr Ramburg. " But I only want 
to draw landscapes," pleaded the youth. ''Then 3'ou must 
draw skeletons, first," replied the artist ; " it is the only way 
to draw landscapes." 

After securing Lemon's favour Captain Howard drew scores 
of comic humanised beasts and birds in the form of initials and 
decorations. At last, after some years. Lemon proposed a 
change, when Howard quietly remarked, " Lve been wondering 
how long you'd go on taking those things ; I should have 
thought you were sick of them. I am." Meanwhile he had 
changed his signature of the Manx legs— he had just been 
sojourning in the island when he adopted them — as Lemon 
represented it as Leech's opinion that it was sometimes un- 
necessarily like his own wriggling signature ; and he had 
adopted in substitution the little trident that figured in the 
paper for fifteen years.. When Leech died, Captain Howard 
aspired to be— in part, at least — his successor ; but although 
he was now drawing figure-subjects, and had an inexhaustible 
stock of jokes and fun, he was told, to his bitter disappoint- 
ment, that new blood was wanted ; and the great mantle 
which had fallen was now drawn round the shoulders of 
Charles Keene and Mr. du Maurier. Captain Howard then 
practicallv retired. Although in the first year of his contri- 
butions he was /30 out of pocket by his PinKli work, as he 
bought his own blocks instead of claiming them from Swain, 
he was soon making £100 a year from the paper. Just 
before he retired an officer recently returned from India 
expressed the desire to draw also for Punch as a profession. 
"I hear," said he, "that Leech makes / 1,500 a year out of 
it." "So that you would be satisfied with / 1,200 ? " asked 
Captain Howard. His friend admitted that even the inferior 
sum would be acceptable. "Very well," replied Howard 
encouragingly ; " come and dine with me, and Lll show 
you by my books that my Punch income last year was just 
twelve pounds ! " 

Captain Howard's work, though clever and ingenious, was 
weak. Its humour, often fresh enough, was never very 

George H. Thomas. — C. H. Bradley. j^yj 

pronounced ; nor did the drautrhtsnian's hand ever become that 
of a master. In 1853 he had made no fewer than sixty-six cuts, 
and about doubled that number each }'ear up to 1867, when, 
with only two drawings in the volume, he finally vanished 
from PiDicJi's pages. Three years later there was printed an 
initial by him, representing a comic hanuuer-fish (p. 265, Vol. 
LIX.), but this belonged to "old stock;" and it marks the 
failure of its author's long-sustained effort to obtain a recog- 
nised position in the front rank of the artistic Staff. He died 
31st August, 1895. 

A contemporary of his was G. H. Thomas, brother of one of 
the founders of the "Graphic," and a popular painter of the 
day, who received much employment from the Queen. Mark 
Lemon was very anxious to secure the services of so admir- 
able a draughtsman ; but Thomas, who was trying to shake 
himself free from wood-drawing in tinour of oil-painting, 
showed little responsixe enthusiasm. He did, however, con- 
tribute a couple of drawings — one of them a large head-piece 
to the preface, representing a feast given to Punch on his 
twenty-first volume day. In it he is supported by the Oueen 
and Court, and at the round table are the representatives of the 
nations. It is not a happy effort, and is clearly inspired by 
Dovle — whose fancy the Editor was still seeking to replace; 
and, moreover, it is poorly engraved ; but it is as full of 
figures as of incident. Then came C. H. Bradley, who 
seldom got beyond initials and trifles of large heads on little 
bodies, being onh^ once or twice promoted to " socials " 
during the nine years of his connection with the pajier. On ■ 
occasion he showed real humour, while his artistic merit 
seems to ha^e owed most of what excellence it possessed to 
the study of Tenniel's work. Bradley, whose monogram 
might easily be mistaken l)y the unwary for that of C, H. 
Bennett, who followed eight years later, executed but fi\e- 
and-thirty cuts between 1852 and i860. 

Punch was ten years old when the hand of Charles Keene, 
but not Charles Keene himself, was introduced to the Editor, 
through the instrumentality of Mr. Henry Silver. Keene 
had at first been intended for the law, and afterwards had 


The History of ''Punch!' 

spent a short [period in an architect's office. But he decided 
to throw himself into art ; and in order to learn engraving 

{Drawn by J. D. Watson. By Coia-tesy of " Black atid White") 

and drawing on the wood, lie followed the practice of the 
day (such as had been adopted by Leech, William Harve}-, 

Charles Kerne's Diffidence. 479 

Fred Walker, Mr. Birket Foster, Mr. Walter Crane, and other 
of Punch's artists), and apprenticed himself to an engraver — 
Whymper, for choice. Then he studied along with his comrade 
Tenniel and other incipient geniuses at the Clipstone Street 
Academy, and as early as 1846 produced with his friend — who 
was soon to be his fellow-giant on Punch — the " Book (jf 
Beauty," already referred to. He took a studio in the Strand 
— a sky-parlour renowned for its dust and inaccessibilit\' — and 
lived, as all good Bohemians should, chiefly on art, song, and 
smoke : an existence sweetened by a few warm ])ut eclectic 
friendships. He worked desperately hard, and having, through 
his fellow-shireman Samuel Read, become connected with the 
''Illustrated London News," he made for it manv drawings 
of the sort now called '' actualitv." 

By that time Mr. Henry Silver had contracted with 
Keene an acquaintanceship which was to grow into a ^\■arm 
friendship, and it was under the shadow of that intimacy 
that his earlier contributions were made. As Mr. Silver 
himself explains in his statement written for Mr. George 
S. Layard's admirable " Life and Letters of Charles Keene 
of Punch " (p. 47) : "It may seem a little strange that 
Keene at first showed some reluctance to let his name be 
known where it was finalh' so famous. Still, it is the fact 
that while his earliest Punch drawings were of my devising, 
he steadily declined to own himself the doer of them. I was 
writing then for Punch as an outsider, but my ambition 
was to draw, and for this I had no talent. As for working 
on the wood, I soon ' cut ' it in despair, and, like a ballled 
tyrant, I knew not how to bring my subjects to the block. 
Keene very kindly undertook the labour for me, and the 
first design he executed was 'A Sketch of the New Paris 
Street-sweeping Machines "—a couple of cannon, namely — 
which was published in December, 185 1, immediately after 
the blood)^ coup d'etat." 

This was the barest sketch, childish and shaky in execution, 
which, however, is explained in the legend as being due to 
the " Special Artist " being in the line of fire. Mr. Layard 
asserts that when Keene made the drawing he thought the 

480 The History of "Punch." 

joke "a mighty poor one;" and he might have added, as 
is made dear in the chapter deahng with " Plagiarism," 
not even a new one, for Punch himself had used the idea 
before (p. 166, Vol. XV.), and was then accused of theft 
by the '* Man in the Moon." ^Ir. Silver proceeds : — 

" His next two drawings illustrate an article of mine, 
and appear on the second page of the next volume. His 
fourth, a far more finished drawing, like these, saw the 
light in 1852, and may be found in Vol. XXHI., p. 257. It 
shows a gentleman engaged in fishing in his kitchen, and 
is entitled ' The Advantage of an Inundation,'' the autumn 
of that year being very wet. ^Nlark Lemon wrote to me 
commending it, and asking me to try and draw a little more 
for him. I showed Charles the letter, and said that now, 
of course, his name must be divulged, for I clearly was 
obtaining kudos under false pretences. However, he deferred 
the disclosure for a while, and it was not until the spring 
of 1854 that his 'C. K.' first appeared (vide initial ' G,' 
Vol. XXVI., p. 128) — a modest little monogram, quite unlike 
his later and so well-known signature. In the interim he 
marked his drawings with a mask, which was a device of 
mine for hiding his identity." 

For nine vears Keene worked steadily on Punch, im- 
proving artistically in an amazing manner, and in i860 he 
was called to the Table — they ser\'ed long temis of probation 
then — and ate his first Dinner on February 20th. It was a 
notable company that he used to meet, all the chief " rising 
stars" of Punch being still upon the Staff, save Douglas Jerrold, 
who had died three years before. There were Mark Lemon, 
Thackeray (nominally retired), Tom Taylor, Horace ]VIayhew, 
Shirley Brooks, Percival Leigh, John Leech, Henry Silver, 
and John Tenniel ; and into this brilliant assemblage, on 
the evening in question (when, however, Thackeray was 
absent, and Sir Joseph Paxton was present as a visitor), he 
was received with a cordial welcome. But neither at that 
time nor thenceforward did he take a prominent part in the 
discussions over the cartoon, although on one occasion he 
did astonish the company with an excellent though belated 

Kerne's Sense of Humour. 481 

suggestion. He had, in fact, no originality of a literary or 
humorous kind. He knew the exact value of a joke when 
it was made, and could usually display its point to in- 
comparable advantage; but joke - creation was not one of 
his strong points, e^•en though he was often forced to it bv 
necessity. Occasionally, however, he would miss a point 
entirely, as in the joke sent him by :\Ir. Alfred Cooper*:— 

" Visitor (having shot a have at the usual seventy yards J : 
' Long shot that, Johnson.' 

" Keeper : ' Yes, sir ; Master remarked as it were a wery long 

" Visitor f gratified J : ' Ah ! Oh, he noticed it, did he ? " 

" Keeper : ' Yes, sir ; Master always take notice. When gen'le- 
men makes wery long shots, they don't get asked again ! ' " 

"Why," asks Keene, "would 'Master' object to this 
long shot ? Burnand .... is sure to want to know. 
I don't know either ! Will you kindly explain, so that I 
can answer him as if I were an expert." As if even a non- 
sportsman would fail to see the point ! 

But at the Table, delightful as Keene personally was — 
he was lovingly addressed as "Carlo" — he was not a leading 
conversationalist. He proposed little ; yet when his opinion 
was asked, he gave it, with judgment and taste, tersely ex- 
pressed. His work, besides, was rarely discussed at the 
Table, for he usually had to seek his material outside. More- 
over, he was, as he expressed it, a " hot Tory," and so stronglv 
antipathetic did he profess himself towards the Liberal tend- 
ency of some of the Staff of that day that he would declare 
with a wink that he positively preferred to stay awav; 
and on the occasion of the accession of ]Mr. Anstev, wrote 
this sturdy Conservative " I hope he's a Tor}-. We want 
some leaven to the set of sorry Rads that lead poor old 
Punch astray at present." But few independent readers, and 
fewer still of Keene's personal friends, will take verv seriouslv 
his sweeping assertion and political pronunciamentoes — at least, 
as regards Punch, for whom and for his colleagues he retained 
to the end feeling-s of the warmest affection. 

* See Mr. Layard's " Life and Letters of Charles Keene," p. 387. 
F F 


482 The History of ''Punch." 

When John Leech died in 1864, it was Keene who received 
the main heritage of his great position as the social satirist 
of the paper, and with it the heaviest share of work and 
artistic responsibihty. Not only did his work -increase in 
the ordinary numbers, but extra drawings — such as the etched 
frontispieces to the Pocket-books — fell also to his lot ; and 
a good deal against the grain — for he hated any approach 
to personality, even though his target was a public man 
and his shaft was tipped with harmless fun — he executed 
fourteen cartoons, as is explained elsewhere. In addition to 
his ordinary " socials " and the formal decorations of each 
successive volume, Keene re-illustrated " Mrs, Caudle's 
Curtain Lectures" with a marvellous series of drawings, and 
Mr. Frank C. Burnand's "Tracks for Tourists," which made 
their first appearance as "How, When, and Where" (1864), 
and were ultimately re -published in " Very Much Abroad." 
Of his outside work for "Once a Week," published by 
Messrs. Bradbuiy and Evans, and other publications, no 
mention need here be made. 

It is doubtful if the public will ever realise how great an 
artist Keene was. His transcendent merit has, however, for 
a long time been the wonder and admiration of his brother- 
craftsmen and of the critics. The stream of his genius con- 
tinued to flow for six-and-thirty years in the most amazing 
manner. His drawings are in the highest form of Impres- 
sionism, reproducing every phase of fleeting expression and 
suddenl3'-arrested action with a certainty and accuracy which 
are absolutely unsurpassable. His power of composition, of 
breadth of handling, chiaroscuro, and suggestion of colour 
and form, was perfect within the range of his medium ; and 
in that medium he gave us, not paper with pen-lines on it, 
but a perfect sense of light, form, and expression. He was 
as careful, too, in his "comic cuts" as the most conscientious 
of painters could be in his canvas ; and drawing invariably 
from the model — even if that model were simply an old shoe 
— ^lie would often journey into the country for a background of, 
say, a turnip-field, or in search of any other detail or local colour. 

In one direction alone did he fail, or choose to fail — in 

Deficient Sense of Female Beauty. 483 

the portrayal of facial beauty, elegance, and respectability. 
A pretty woman lurked but rarely about the point of his 
pencil, as she does so delightfully aibout those of his principal 
collaborators on Punch; and an elegant woman — save by 
accident—never. You may point to the Brittain- peasant in 
the number for September 20th, 1856; to the very Leechy 
young lady on p. 188, Vol. XXX\'i. (May 7th, 1859), who, 
it must be admitted, really is a " lady ; " and to one or two 
more. But these pretty women ser^•e rather to accentuate 
the ugliness of all his other women, when they should have 
been most beautiful ; while elegance is with him a %irtue 
that very rarely saves. Keene, indeed, misrepresented his 
countrywomen as much as M. Forain libels his. Keene's 
" swells," and even his gentlemen, are snobs ; his aristocracy 
and his clerks are cast in the same mould ; his citv voune 
men are like artizans ; and his brides are forbidding — models 
of virtue, no doubt, but lacking ever}- outward feminine charm. 
These shortcomings, of course, are to a certain extent to be 
accounted for by his own nature. Living in the strictest 
economy and temperateness, he hated anything like ostenta- 
tion. He despised '' Society " and the whole fabric of fashion, 
and held the world of Burke and Debrett in good-natured 
abhorrence. Like Leech and Dickens, he had given his heart 
to the middle and lower-middle classes, and among them he 
found his best models and most admirable motifs. 

No Punch artist was ever so dependent upon his friends 
for "subjects" as he, and none received such continuous 
and delightful support. From Messrs. Joseph Crawhall, 
Andrew Tuer, Walker, Clayton, Birket Foster, Sands, Fritchett, 
Savile Clark, Ashby-Sterr}-, Chasemore, and others, he was 
under constant friendlv, and fully-acknowledged, obligation. 
Not but that he made constant effort to secure "jokes" of 
his own. He was ever on the look-out, and often ver}- hard- 
pressed, for them. One day he told ]Mr. Pritchett that he had 
determined to join a riding class at Allen's Riding-school, 
and seek inspiration there. His friend amiably suggested 
that he (Mr. Pritchett) should attend as observer and 
reporter, and tell Keene all the ridiculous things he did on 
F F 2 

484 ^J^HE History of "Punch." 

horseback and the amusing appearances he cut. But the 
idea did not seem to commend itself to Keene, who merely 
replied that he thought he should choose a hearse-horse to 
ride, as being at once more stately, decorative, and safe. . 

Amongst Keene's own subjects are to be included the 
greater number of those series of drawings dealing with 
artist and volunteer life ; but it must be recognised that to a 
great extent Keene was frankly the illustrator of other men's 
ideas, and often of other men's "legends." These legends, 
or " cackle," were often touched up by Keene ; but sometimes 
they were entirely original. And though it must be admitted 
that thev are not concise as Leech's, they are, as a rule, 
more life-like, more truthfully Impressionistic — ^just as his 
drawings are. The "legend," by the way, Keene used to 
term the " libretto " — a reflection, as it were, of his passion 
for music (a passion he shared with Gainsborough and Dyce 
and Romney, and so many more of our most eminent artists). 
This love of music he indulged at the meetings of the 
Moray Minstrels, in the Crystal Palace Choir during the 
Handel Festivals, and in the depths of the country, wherein 
he would bury himself in order to torture the bagj^ipes, with- 
out testing too severely the forbearance of his fellow-men. 

When he secured a good story — which he loved to impart 
with an ecstatic wink to one or other of his closest friends 
— he would look as carefully to the " libretto " as to the 
drawing, as in the case of the British farmer who, crossing 
the Channel for the first time — in great discomfort at the 
roll of the boat — " This Capt'n don't understand his business. 
Dang it, why don't he keep in the furrows f" or the story — 
older, by the way, than Keene had any knowledge of— of 
the Scotchman who was asked by a friend, upon whom he 
had called, if he would take a glass of whiskey. " Xo," he 
said, " it's too airly ; besides, I've had a gill a' ready ! " 

And when his legends were altered by the Editor he 
would fret for a week. Once when Tom Taylor altered the 
good Scotch of a "field preacher" (Almanac for 1880) he 
declared himself "in a great rage," and swore that he would 
"never forgive" the delinquent. On other occasions, too, he 

{Front a Pen-Drawhig by Himself. By Permission of Henry S. Keene. Engraved by J . Swain.) 


The History of '"Punch." 

fumed at the desecration of his " hbrettos ; " and when the 
word 'Mast" was accidentally omitted from his joke— "Heard 
my [last] new song?" " Oh, Lor! I hope so ! !" he mourned 

over the loss of 
jy-^-^i.^.i:^^^ thepoint. Yethe 

^izM^^^^^^^Sec^ might have been 

comforted ; for 
had the word 
been retained, 
the further 
charge ofplagiar- 
ism could have 
been sustained 
against him. 

But his sorest 
point against 
Punch — to 
which, after all, 
he was sincerely 
attached — was 
not the altera- 
tion, but the 
total suppression 
of some of his 
w o r k . T w o 
such cases are 
duly recorded 
by Mr. Layard 
— both of them 
admirable jokes 
in their way, 
though perhaps of questionable taste. The first deals with 
a "Bereaved Husband's" opposition to the "Sympathetic 
Undertaker's" remorseless insistence that the chief mourner 
should enter the first carriage with his mother-in-law. 
" Ah ! well," he sighs, with resignation ; " but it icill com- 
pletely spoil my dav ! " 

The second story — to which an excellent drawing was 



Death of Keenf!s " Toby." 487 

made — tells of a widow who looks with sorrowful resigna- 
tion upon a portrait of her husband that hangs above the 
fireplace, and sa3'S - to her S3^mpathising friend : " But why 
should I grieve, dear ? I know where he passes his e\-enings 
now ! " The first of these Mark Lemon— ever anxious to 
avoid giving offence — declined on the ground that it was too 
hard upon mothers-in-law ; and the second because, in Keene's 
own words, " Our Philistine Editor . . . said it would ' jar 
upon feelings' !" He surely could not have borne completer 
testimony to the care, the ultra-respect for others' sentiments, 
which has usually distinguished Pioic/i, to the disgust of critics 
of less refinement and consideration. 

On another point, too, he was not at one with Pioic/i, 
and that was " Tobv." The form and face of Mr. Punch, 
as rendered by him, was hardly a classic rendering ; but 
this was forgiven him. But Keene's Toby was neither the 
cur represented by some, nor the Irish terrier affected by 
others, but a dachshund ! And he persisted in so drawing 
him to the end, not because he thought it right, but because 
*' it might have been ! " and because the original of the beast 
was his own much-loved pet " Frau," which he survived not 
many days. (See next page.) 

To this drawing particular interest attaches, for it is the 
very last that ever came from his hand — a loving tribute to 
an old friend that had passed away. Concerning it, Mr. 
Henry S. Keene writes to me : " The history of the dog 
is shortly this. She was a favourite old dog of my brother's, 
and has figured a good many times in his drawings as the 
dog of the 'typical' Punch, and was of the breed of the 
'dachshund.' She was very old and full of infirmities, and 
my brother consented, with some reluctance, to put the 
poor thing out of its misery. When it was dead, he had 
it put on a chair in his room, and made the sketch. This 
was about three months before he died, and was the last 
thing he drew. It required an effort on his part, as he had 
entirely left off doing any work since the beginning of last 
year [1890]." 

More than any other man on Punch, Keene suffered at 


The History of "Punch'' 

the hands of the engraver. But it was wholly his own fault. 
He took no heed whatever of the engraver, and set before 
him problems to which there was no solution. Thus, he 
loved to make his drawings on old rough paper, which by 
its grain gave a wonderfully charming but irreproducible 
quality to his ragged lines, and which by stains of age would 
impart effects wholly foreign to the art of the wood-cutter. 


(^Keene's Last Draiving.) 

Moreover, he would manufacture his own inks in varying 
degrees of greyness, and even of different colours, and then 
set them before the cutter (not the engraver, mind) to 
translate into black-and-white. Yet there are some who 
blame the craftsman for not reproducing what it was an 
absolute impossibility to reproduce by printer's ink and graver ! 
But Keene was engrossed in his art ; and I have seen a 
drawing, at Mr. Birket Foster's house at Witle}', which was 
the seventh attempt he made before he was satisfied. This 
was the drawing entitled "Ahem!" representing a man 
kissing a girl, while someone, with the familiar inconsiderate- 
ness of humanity, is approaching. The background for this 
drawing is Mr. Foster's house. 

Keene as an Artist. 489 

But although Keene was not a man of ideas, his merits 
as a creator — as a reahser of t3'pes — were supreme. Manv 
of his dramatis personoi no doubt became old-fashioned in a 
sense ; but who can deny the truth to life of the Kirk Elder, 
the slavey, the policeman, the tussy City man, the diner- 
out, the waiter (did he not invent "Robert" ?), the cabman, 
the henpecked husband, the drunkard, the gillie, the Irish 
peasant, the schoolboy, and the Airs. Brown of Arthur 
Sketchley's prosaic muse ? The wealth of his limited fanc}', 
and his power of resolving it into well-ordered design, and 
presenting it wit